The Moab newspaper, which has been published for 127 years, is committed to evolving as the information resource for readers in southeastern Utah.
The nonprofit news business in Utah is growing, and readers across the state—and the Moab area in particular—will benefit.
The Times-Independent, which has published continuously in this Grand County community for 127 years, will become a nonprofit later this year along with The Salt Lake Tribune, which has been a community-owned nonprofit since 2019.
In a letter to readers reprinted in the Thursday edition of the Moab newspaper, publisher Zane Taylor said the move was “important in the continued development of The Times-Independent so that it remains essential to all Moabites.”
Lauren Gustus, editor-in-chief of The Tribune, said that The Times-Independent is a good fit for the transition to nonprofit status because “it’s sustainable and it’s profitable.” And that’s just as important: It’s doing a good job. It is important local coverage that the community appreciates.”
With the transition from The Times-Independent to non-profit status, the newspaper’s readership will increase as every Moab resident receives the newspaper free of charge in the mail once a week. Also, the stories on The Times-Independent website are free without a subscription.
“By increasing reach and circulation, the advertising value of the newspaper increases significantly,” Taylor said in an interview ahead of Thursday’s announcement. “It’s just a different business model for the future.”
The Times-Independent will continue to operate its newsroom from Moab, led by editor Doug McMurdo.
As part of the partnership, The Times-Independent will have access to The Tribune’s statewide coverage. In return, Gustus said, The Tribune will include stories by Times-Independent reporters in its print and online editions “to encourage and enhance the good local journalism of our partners in Southeast Utah.”
The Tribune will help manage the operations of the Moab newspaper, including overseeing printing and layout, and bring the Moab newspaper staff under The Tribune’s human resources department.
For years, The Times-Independent has been printed on proprietary presses at the newspaper’s Moab offices. Taylor has served as both the newspaper’s print and publisher for the past 25 years.
“I run the print shop, I do the accounting, I do the public service, I fix the swamp coolers, I’m the boss here and I do the payroll and I just carry all these different responsibilities,” Taylor said. “If something doesn’t fit the job description or someone else’s skills, it falls to me.”
Taylor will not retire with the move to nonprofit status. He will be a member of The Times-Independent’s new advisory board.
Taylor’s family, Gustus said, “gave a lot” to the Times Independent. She said she witnessed this on a recent visit to Moab, where she listened to the newspaper’s press release Wednesday night.
“[Taylor’s] Woman showed up, dog showed up… (Reporter) Sophia (Fisher) put on her smock and everyone took part in this press run,” Gustus said. “It’s a huge commitment to fulfill. If you’re not there, the newspaper won’t come out.”
The Times-Independent first appeared in 1896 as the Grand Valley Times. A few years later, in the early 1900s, LL “Bish” Taylor—Zane Taylor’s grandfather—acquired it from his brother-in-law. A merger with rival Independent soon followed.
Samuel Taylor – Bish Taylor’s son and Zane’s father – took over publishing duties after his return from the Korean War. Samuel’s wife Adrien became associate editor and editor — while raising four children, Zane and his siblings Tom Taylor, Sena Hauer and Jed Taylor.
Taylor has scheduled an open house for Moab residents on July 26 at 6 p.m. at the offices of The Times-Independent at 35 E. Center St., Moab, to offer their views on the transition to nonprofit organizations.