As rumors about the sale of The Tribune swirl, a Save the Tribune rally has been set for Saturday, 1 p.m. at the Salt Lake City County Building. Show up if you want preserve the Trib as an independent voice.
According to Trib defender Sen. Jim Dabakis' ominous post on Facebook last weekend:
"A Deseret News insider tells me there IS a plan in the 'stangele the Trib, but don't leave any D News fingerprint on the Trib's body' scheme of D News honcho Clark Gilbert. The Trib will morph into an occasional (one or two times a week, under D News content watch) small insert into the D News. Gilbert will announce he is saving the Trib."
Put that hyperventilating aside for the moment and keep in mind that saving the Trib as a truly independent voice will require the deal that the hedge-fund owners of The Tribune cut with the LDS Church-owned Deseret News be reversed—no simple feat.
As it stands, independent Trib lovers face a heart-breaking math problem: Financially, The Tribune is already a subsidiary of the Deseret News. Subscribers and advertisers cannot support the Trib with their dollars without helping the Deseret News even more.
It came home to me when a neighbor who was a long-time subscriber to The Tribune told me he was canceling his subscription because he read in the Trib (ironic, no?) that 70 percent of his money "goes to the Church." Yes, his point is simplistic, 70 cents out of every dollar of his subscription actually goes to the Deseret News, which is owned Deseret Digital Media, which in turn is controlled by the LDS Church.
Still, he was confronting a paradox that supporters of the Trib don't like to think about: If you subscribe to the Trib to keep it afloat, most of the money goes to the Deseret News—which you've been told is bent on crushing the Trib's independent voice.