about the Tribune
A letter from the Chair of the Board
A year ago, The Salt Lake Tribune made the unprecedented transition from a for-profit daily news outlet to a publicly funded 501(c)(3) charitable organization. It’s been an incredible year. Thank you for your support in this endeavor.
At that time I told you that I believe that public support, not profit, should drive the future of this newspaper, preserving the dynamic future of our publication. You have supported us in droves and we thank you.
As we head into our 150th anniversary year, we are continuing to evolve and create a new business model that will ensure The Tribune will be here for generations to come.
Fact-based, quality journalism is vital to our democracy. People across the nation are looking to us to create a new model for local journalism, and I tell them they can count on Utah.
Thank you for reading, for your support and for being a part of this journey.
—Paul Huntsman, Chairman of the Board of Directors
The Salt Lake Tribune is Utah’s voice. Building on a legacy of courageous, watchdog journalism, we tell stories that are interesting, important and inclusive in an accurate, fair and contextual manner. We engage, educate and empower our readers with reporting that informs and advances healthy civic discourse.
by the numbers
a year in review
2020 brought a number of unexpected changes to our lives and to those of our readers.
When COVID-19 shut down most of Utah, followed shortly by the first earthquake Salt Lake City has seen in years, The Tribune dropped its meter on all earthquake and coronavirus-related stories. We’ve continued to allow free access to our daily coronavirus story, an imperative public service that aligns with our mission as a nonprofit.
As sports shut down, those reporters pivoted to cover other news. Real Salt Lake reporter Alex Vejar and BYU athletics reporter Norma Gonzalez worked on a project on how COVID-19 affects local Hispanic populations and Utah Jazz reporter Andy Larsen, a college math major, pivoted to writing a column three days a week explaining the data of COVID-19.
Andy’s work has been some of the most informative, most shared and most impactful journalism in 2020.
Read Andy's Stories:
A Changing World
On a Saturday in late May, a peaceful march against racism and police violence was derailed by vandalism and cars on fire, police used rubber bullets, an officer was caught on video knocking down an older man with a cane while another man threatened protesters with a bow and arrow, the mayor issued an extended curfew, and the governor summoned the National Guard.
Our team spent the day on the street documenting the social unrest. That Saturday kicked off weeks of more in-depth and multifaceted reporting, from stories on the passionate debates around defunding police and banning knee-on-neck restraint, to explainers about how bad cops are disciplined and what reform efforts are gaining traction. Thousands of people have watched our virtual town halls exploring racism, police reform and policy changes in Utah. Our opinion section has provided a needed platform for thoughtful commentary and debate. Crucially, our photographers have documented the protests every night and shared stunning images of both pain and solidarity.
This is what recording the first draft of history looks like.
major partnerships & grants
Facebook Local News Accelerator
The Tribune was one of 13 newsrooms in North America selected to participate in Facebook’s 2020 digital subscriptions accelerator. The program combines a design/do approach with collaboration in hands-on workshops to drive subscription growth. The program came with a $150,000 grant to drive changes. We’ve seen our monthly subscription revenue double as a result of changes made during the program.
Facebook Local News Accelerator
Google News Initiative
The Google News Initiative granted the Tribune a $252,000 in 2019, the funding was used in 2019 and 2020. The funding was for the Tribune’s transition from a for-profit to a nonprofit institution. Included in funding were tools and staffing to accelerate the transition and to create a sustainable business model for small- and mid-sized legacy news organizations. We created a playbook for GNI around this model to share with other media.
The Google News Initiative
The James S. & John L Knight Foundation
The James S. & John L. Knight Foundation granted $250,000 to the Salt Lake Tribune to identify and implement policies and procedures to operate as a nonprofit news organization. The specifics of this grant were to research, develop and test sustainable revenue strategies to deliver public service journalism through membership programs, subscriptions, paywalls, a major gifts program, events and others. It was also used to increase the Tribune’s presence in the public by conducting meaningful community engagement such as public events, member events, focus groups and hosting civic dialogues.
The James S. & John L. Knight Foundation
community engagement & partnerships
BYU Ballard Center
Each semester The Tribune partners with a team of students from the Ballard Center. These interns have tackled major initiatives, particularly around engagement. The summer interns gave us an analysis on how to diversify our op-ed/commentary contributions. We will begin an outreach strategy to these individuals this fall. The fall interns are examining ways to improve online commenting and have already received survey responses from nearly 1,500 readers.
Brigham Young University Ballard Center
Through an Instagram/Buzzfeed partnership, we were able to have an Instagram fellow work with and train our team for 10 weeks this summer. She created a new strategy for us around Instagram to showcase our journalism and grow our audience. Our interactions tripled and we now reach more than 25,000 followers each month.
Hinckley Institute &
The Tribune partnered with Hinckley and Sorenson interns over the summer. They helped us with groundwork for the high school senior initiative, contacting school districts about their interest and building a database of contacts. They also did groundwork on the "Living Room" discussion groups that we will launch in early 2021.
U of U Hinckley
The Tribune’s paid internship program is year around, starting with two interns, who help cover the legislative session and work on our political newsletter, The Rundown. We hired three interns for the summer who bolster our reporter ranks. Two were Utah college students and one was from the Dow Jones data journalism project. Through a program offered by the Columbia School of Journalism, we had the opportunity to work with an intern based in New York. As the year wound down, we split our political internship in half, sharing duties between two BYU students.
stories with impact
to our major donors & grants
(prorated 2-year grant)
First Amendment Society
donors committed to donating at least $1,000 a year for three years
John and Anne Milliken
George and Mary Hall
Ronna and Stan Cohen
Nancy and George Melling
Andrew and Claire Bjelland
Jane and Kim Blair
Jean Lown and Bryan Dixon
Howard and Ray Grossman
Tim and Amy Haran
Nancy Melich and Lex Hemphill
Carl and Vanessa Laurella
Peter and Kathleen Metcalf
Michael O'Brien & Jones Waldo Law Firm
Gerald R. And Virginia S. Rothstein
Sarah Rule Salzberg
Toni Marie Sutliff
Become a member of the First Amendment Society, a group of dedicated, generous individuals who believe that the free press and The Tribune are vital to the health of our community, our state and our democracy. Members receive exclusive opportunities for updates and invitations to special mission-related events and meet a few times a year to share their thoughts with us. They also receive an annual digital subscription to The New York Times.
For more information on how to join the First Amendment Society,
contact Liz Morales,
end of year campaign
In partnership with INN, The Miami Foundation, and NewsMatch we raised $172,181 for our end of the year campaign, exceeding our initial goal of $150,000
Matching donor donations
Paul C. Huntsman, Chairman
Luzmaria (Lucy) Cardenas
James E. Shelledy, treasurer
For more information, please contact Executive Lauren Gustus |
a look to the future
When we transitioned to a 501(c)(3) in 2020, we became community supported and community owned.
We transitioned to a 501(c)(3)
Our joint operating agreement with the Deseret News dissolved Dec. 31. The agreement meant The Tribune could not sell its own print ads or subscriptions and received a portion of the revenue from these efforts, which were managed externally.
We now can.
We became a stand alone news organization
We launched an advertising team, a circulation operation, a new weekend edition, a new e edition (or rendering of the printed paper available online), a new website and a new app for your phone in the space of about 8 weeks.
We welcomed Executive Editor Lauren Gustus and Chief Revenue Officer Chris Stegman.
We will celebrate 150 years in April. And in many ways it feels like we’re launching a startup.