SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Industrialist and philanthropist Jon Huntsman Sr. has expressed an interest in buying The Salt Lake Tribune, saying its independent news voice is crucial to Utah.
But he says the U.S. Department of Justice has put a temporary clamp on any negotiations as federal lawyers examine changes made last fall to a joint operating agreement between Tribune owners and the rival Deseret News, owned by the Mormon church.
The deal slashes The Tribune's share of joint operating revenues from 58 percent to 30 percent.
Huntsman says while he's a "strong member" of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he thinks it would not be in the best interests of Utah residents if the state's news was dominated by a church- or politically-owned newspaper.
The 76-year-old Huntsman spoke to reporters Friday after groundbreaking ceremonies for a $105 million research wing at the University of Utah's Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City.