Feb 2, 2024 - News

Paul Huntsman announces he's exiting The Salt Lake Tribune

Illustration of the opinion section of a newspaper with a political cartoon waving goodbye

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Salt Lake Tribune's board chair Paul Huntsman is stepping down from his role, he wrote in an op-ed published Friday.

The big picture: Huntsman's departure comes nearly five years after he led the Tribune to become the first legacy metro newspaper in the U.S. to transform into a nonprofit.

What they're saying: "It is time for me to step away from The Tribune board and operations. I do not regret this journey. It was an exhausting, thrilling, exasperating, rocky and sometimes fulfilling ride," Huntsman wrote. "But among the most important things in life are knowing oneself and one's place in life's cycles," he said.

  • "He ensured we can continue to serve Utahns for years to come, and in doing so helped build a new business model for local, independent media," the newspaper's editor Lauren Gustus said in a statement.

What's next: The board will announce the selection of a new chair in the weeks to come.

Catch up quick: Huntsman, son of the late billionaire philanthropist Jon Huntsman Sr., purchased the paper in 2016 from Alden Global Capital, an investment firm known for gutting U.S. newspapers to maximize profits.

Between the lines: Tensions between Huntsman and then-editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce became apparent in 2020 after she resigned, citing "differences of opinion about newsroom coverage, management and policies" with the board chair.

After his brother, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., lost his 2020 gubernatorial bid to then-Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, some Tribune staffers grew concerned that Paul Huntsman had launched a company — separate from the newspaper — to investigate his brother's opponent, The Washington Post reported.

  • Huntsman denied "using his company or the newspaper for his brother's behalf," according to The Post.

Of note: Napier-Pearce, who now serves as Cox's senior advisor of communications, declined to comment.

Editor's note: Kim Bojórquez is a former employee of The Salt Lake Tribune.

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