Taylor family turns over reins after 120 years — ‘It has been my family’s honor to serve Moabites’

Sep 1, 2023

Zane Taylor and Jose Santana print The Times-Independent’s B section on July 18, 2023. (Photo by Doug McMurdo, Times-Independent)
Zane Taylor
The Times-Independent operated out of a bank building in 1918 on the site of what is now Wells Fargo at Center and Main streets. (Times-Independent file photo)
A young Bish Taylor photographed at work in 1914. (Times-Independent file photo)

Publisher | The Times-Independent, Moab, Utah

The first edition of this newspaper was published in 1896 under the name, the Grand Valley Times.

L. L. “Bish” Taylor, my grandfather, acquired the paper from his brother-in-law early in the last century, and a merger with the Moab Independent created the masthead.

For more than 120 years, well ahead of the establishment of Canyonlands or Arches and most businesses in Moab, my family has served this community by publishing an independent voice filled with local reporting. We’ve told the Moab story: We’ve covered graduations and milestones, held public officials to account and reported on the economy from livestock to uranium to tourism.

Taylor’s son, Samuel, my father, took on publishing duties after serving in the Korean War. My mother, Adrien, joined him as co-publisher and editor. Mom and Dad passed the paper on to their children, my brother Tom Taylor, my sister Sena Hauer, and me.

Now it’s time for the paper to be passed to a new steward. Journalism has changed, and it is important for the Times-Independent to evolve so it remains essential to all Moabites.

The Times-Independent will be operated by The Salt Lake Tribune, which itself became a nonprofit in 2020. The Tribune will help with the transition to a nonprofit and will help us run the business side of our operations.

The newsroom will still be run out of Moab, as it always has, under the continued leadership of editor Doug McMurdo. And the commitment to accountability and community journalism remains strong as ever.

The Times-Independent will continue to be published weekly and will maintain its presence on Center Street.

Some other good news we are excited to share: our reporting will be free online. You won’t need a subscription to read it, starting today. And the print newspaper will also be free to all residents of Moab, delivered to your mailbox every Thursday beginning in September. Everyone in the community will get access to trusted news and information.

Subscriber copies outside the 84532 ZIP code will continue to be mailed, and those who don’t live here must subscribe to receive the print paper.

We’re excited about this opportunity, and we hope you are, as well. The Times-Independent’s first responsibility is to people who live here, not shareholders or private owners. This transition ensures advertising and donation revenues are reinvested in reporting.

We expect to grow and strengthen our relationship with readers, and as a nonprofit, we will need your support. The paper can receive and will rely on philanthropic financial support. We hope to use that additional revenue to support more local reporting.

An expanded circulation base will increase the paper’s advertising potential. The paper will be reaching every mailbox in the local area, every week.

As we have been working with The Tribune folks, we have become impressed with their ability and professionalism. They can bring a wealth of resources to this publication. We are confident in the ability of this organization to carry on the name and function far into the future.

It’s been an honor to serve as pressman for the past 25 years, and publisher for much of that time. During that period, we have managed to keep the presses rolling and keep the paper alive through a perilous time for newspapers. It’s been quite a journey, from paste-up pages and hand-developed negatives, to digital prepress and press-ready plates. It’s been meaningful work.

A community needs a good newspaper.

As we embark on this journey, we want to hear from you. Join us at an open house at our office on Center Street at 6 p.m. on July 26. You can also find more details on our website.

Here’s a link to what we expect will be frequently asked questions: https://www.moabtimes.com/faq/

If you want to support us in this new phase, you can donate at: https://bit.ly/47NoJ1z.

This isn’t goodbye. I have agreed to serve on the Times-Independent Advisory Board, which we will build in the coming months. We want to especially thank our readers and advertisers, some who have been with us for decades.