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Sacramento Bee president leaving for top newspaper job in Salt Lake City

Lauren Gustus will become the Salt Lake City Tribune's third female editor in the paper's 150-year history.

Lauren Gustus will become the Salt Lake City Tribune's third female editor in the paper's 150-year history.

Former Sacramento Bee President and McClatchy West Editor Lauren Gustus. (Photo via Linkedin/Graphic by The Desk)

The Sacramento Bee’s top editor announced her departure from the newspaper on Wednesday after landing a new role as the executive editor of the Salt Lake City Tribune.

The announcement was made in an early morning post on the professional social media platform LinkedIn.

“My McClatchy colleagues are passionate, driven journalists. Will miss them so,” Gustus wrote. “There’s only one role like this at The Tribune. [I am] honored to join them soon.”

Gustus spent more than three years at McClatchy, working first as the executive editor and vice president of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram before moving to the company’s flagship newspaper in Sacramento two years ago.

Her time with the Bee was largely spent dealing with one crisis after another: Less than two months into the job, the Bee announced a significant round of layoffs that saw the departure of numerous veteran journalists.

Last year, McClatchy filed for bankruptcy protection, a move that ultimately saw its transition from a family-owned company to one that shares common ownership with the supermarket tabloid National Enquirer.

Gustus was not responsible for any of McClatchy’s misfortunes — in fact, she sought to move the Sacramento Bee and other West Coast newspapers under her watch in a better direction.

She oversaw the launch of several not-for-profit journalism labs at the Bee and elsewhere that paid journalists to produce under-reported stories of community interest.

Earlier this year, she bore the full brunt of criticism after announcing the Sacramento Bee would vacate its long-time headquarters at 2100 Q Street and transition to full-time remote working until a smaller office space could be found to better accommodate the outlet’s slimmer operation.

In the announcement, Gustus acknowledged that the Bee still had a long way to go before reaching its digital goals — the paper, which has the potential to reach millions of people across the region, had just 30,000 digital subscribers as of late September.

To attract new readers, Gustus acknowledged prior shortcomings in the Bee’s reporting on under-served groups and vowed to correct this through the hiring of reporters who focused on minority communities, housing and domestic violence issues, among others.

At her new job in Salt Lake City, Gustus will once again oversee a newsroom in the midst of a transition. She starts in her new position in early December, nearly two months after the Tribune announced it would stop printing a daily newspaper delivered by carrier and switch to producing a weekly paper delivered by postal mail. (That decision didn’t come with layoffs in the journalism department.)

The Tribune is not a foreign newsroom to her: Gustus served as the paper’s assistant sports editor from December 2004 to July 2007 where she worked with a team of nearly two dozen sports writers and copy desk editors.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).