Venerable Salt Lake City Tribune Lays Off 38 Percent Of Its Staff

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The Salt Lake Tribune cut more than one-third of its newsroom staff on Monday.  Venerable names like columnists Paul Rolly and Michelle Quist, along with veteran reporters Ellen Fagg Weist, Jay Drew, Chris Smart, Mike Gorrell and Bob Mims were among 34 of 90 staff members who were let go or took retirement, according to the newspaper.

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The layoffs included 14 reporters, seven editors, five support staffers, three photographers, two web producers, two columnists and one graphic artist.

 

“After almost 35 years at the Salt Lake Tribune, I got an email this morning telling me my services were no longer needed and my position was being eliminated. … It’s not a shock — we knew things were bad — but I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around it,” Gorrell posted on his Facebook page Monday. “I walked into the Green Sheet Newspaper/Murray Eagle right about 44 years ago now and have known since then I was meant to be a newspaperman. It’s been a great career that I’m sad to leave.”

 

The layoffs come six days after Tribune owner and publisher Paul Huntsman told newsroom staff about “impending changes and financial difficulties” facing the paper.

 

At the time, he told employees that in the two years since he acquired the paper, advertising revenues had fallen 40 percent as daily and weekend print circulation has declined, adding that he had personally covered losses for eight months after investing over $1 million to upgrade the paper’s online and digital production capabilities.

 

In addition to the newsroom layoffs, the paper plans to eliminate its Utah news sections on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, having already eliminated its Monday version of the local news section, its website states.

 

“Laying off talented and dedicated colleagues has been flat-out excruciating and represents a tremendous loss not only for this newsroom but also for our entire community,” Editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce wrote in the paper’s website. “With fewer numbers, we simply can’t be all things to all people or do things the way we used to. But losing a trusted news source, a Pulitzer Prize-winning independent voice in Utah, is absolutely not an option. Those of us who remain will continue to provide the high-quality journalism you’ve come to expect from the Tribune.”

Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy:  SLC Tribune
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