Salt Lake City newspaper rumors untrue

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    By Janene Pack

    The Deseret News squashed rumors today that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is trying to purchase The Newspaper Agency Corporation and The Salt Lake Tribune.

    Unconfirmed speculation of the LDS Church possibly buying the Salt Lake Tribune, which is owned by AT&T Broadband, have been circulating for weeks.

    Glen Snarr, chairman and president of Deseret News, which is owned by the LDS Church, says the speculations are not true.

    The Deseret News is trying to negotiate with AT&T to move its distribution time from afternoons to mornings, Snarr said.

    “We are not seeking in any way to interfere with the editing and content of The Salt Lake Tribune,” Snarr said.

    Dominic Welch, publisher of the Tribune and president of the NAC, said he believes what the Deseret News says about not wanting the buy the Tribune, but he believes they would like to control the NAC.

    “If they controlled the NAC, they could move to the morning circulation much easier,” Welch said.

    “However, I believe the brethren when they say they want a second voice in the community,” Welch said. “The LDS Church does not want to control both papers.”

    According to the NAC Web Site, The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News have been operating side-by-side under a joint-operating agreement signed in 1952.

    The two newspapers share advertising, printing, circulation, expenses and profits as the co-owned NAC.

    Ed Adams, associate professor of communications and expert on joint-operating agreements, said the Deseret News as an afternoon newspaper is insulated now, but if agreement is removed the Tribune and the Deseret News would compete head-to-head.

    “The joint-operant agreement expires in 2012 and every afternoon newspaper I know closes down after the joint-operant agreement expires,” Adams said. “The only way for the Deseret News to compete is to move to the morning.”

    Welch says he has no problem with the Deseret News moving to morning circulation.

    “There are even provisions under the joint-operating agreement of how it’s done,” Welch said. “But it all comes down to money, I don’t think the Deseret News wants to pay the cost of moving to a morning circulation and paying for the equipment that is needed for that.”

    “Besides, two newspapers going head to head does not seem right under a joint-operating agreement,” Welch said.

    See related story:

    Salt Lake newspaper relations uncertain 10/5/2000

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