By Kent Larsen
Tribune-Media News Agreement Freezes Status Quo
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- At the request of US District Judge Tena Campbell,
the Salt Lake Tribune Co., manager of the newspaper, and MediaNews Group,
the newspaper's new owner, have reached an agreement to freeze the status of
the Newspaper Agency Corp., the company that runs the business and
distribution functions of both the Tribune and the Deseret News. The
agreement keeps MediaNews Group from making 'significant' changes to the
Newspaper Agency Corp. (NAC) until a hearing in February, when Judge
Campbell will hear the case.
The agreement comes after the Tribune's managers filed a request for a
temporary restraining order on Monday, asking Judge Campbell to bar
MediaNews Group's changes to the NAC. The new owner has replaced Tribune
Publisher Dominic Welch and Chief Operating Officer Randy Frisch on the NAC
board with MediaNews President Dean Singleton and Executive Vice President
Joseph Lodovic. They also changed the NAC's general manager, who was Welch,
for a new, independent president, Joseph Zerby, who ran a similar joint
operating agreement for MediaNews Group in York, Pennsylvania.
The Tribune managers claim that the changes will erode the Salt Lake Tribune
Co.'s position as manager of the newspaper, and reduce the newspaper's
value for the time when the managers are able to exercise their option to
purchase the newspaper. MediaNews Group contends that the changes are in the
best interest of both the Tribune and the Deseret News.
The agreement, which Campbell gave the force of a court order, leaves Zerby
as president of the NAC, but requires him to consult with Welch and invite
Welch to any meetings he has with NAC staff.
The Tribune managers called the ruling a victory because it keeps the status
quo, if only temporarily. But MediaNews Group's Singleton says the claims of
victory are "baloney." "We don't view this as some kind of game to be
played. We view it as a practical way of running the company until they can
have their claims heard. Their claims are totally without merit and bring up
no issues that make any sense, but they have a right to have them heard."
Salt Lake Tribune Managers Claim Temporary Victory
Editor & Publisher 11Jan01 B4
By Lucia Moses
MediaNews Will Hold Off On Changes To JOA
Tribune Managers, Owner Strike Truce
Salt Lake Tribune 12Jan01 B4
By Kristen Moulton: The Salt Lake Tribune