Salt Lake City Weekly

Salt Lake City Weekly
Salt Lake City Weekly
City Weekly's "Best of Utah 04"
Type Alternative weekly
Format Tabloid
Owner Copperfield Publishing, Inc.
Publisher Jim Rizzi
Editor Jerre Wroble
Founded 1984 (as the Private Eye)
Headquarters 248 South Main St.
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
 United States
Circulation 60,500[1]
Official website

Salt Lake City Weekly (usually shortened to City Weekly) is a free alternative weekly tabloid-paged newspaper published in Salt Lake City, Utah. It began its life as the Private Eye. City Weekly is published and dated for every Thursday by Copperfield Publishing Inc. of which John Saltas is majority owner and president.



John Saltas founded what would become Salt Lake City Weekly in June, 1984. He called his monthly publication the Private Eye because it contained news and promotions for bars and dance clubs, which due to Utah State liquor laws were all private clubs. Saltas originally mailed the Private Eye as a newsletter to private club members. State law forbade private clubs from advertising at the time, so Saltas' newsletter was the only way for clubs to get promotional information out.

In 1988, the Private Eye became a bi-weekly newspaper although it was available mostly in clubs. Distribution of the paper broadened as new liquor rule interpretations at the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) allowed mainstream media to carry club advertisements as long as they weren't "soliciting" members. The "Private Eye" thus ended its mailed period and was available for free in public distribution outlets for the first time. In 1989, Private Eye was admitted to the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN), the organization's 40th member.[2]

Private Eye Weekly

In 1992 the Private Eye Weekly emerged as a weekly tabloid-style alternative paper with distribution outlets in Salt Lake City, Ogden, Park City and Utah County. Saltas hired his first editor, then-KSL-TV journalist Tom Walsh. Walsh was a veteran writer with experience from the alternative Phoenix New Times, and he took a significant salary cut because of his enthusiasm for the new paper.[2]

The Private Eye's early contributors included Ben Fulton (who served as editor in chief until spring 2007), Christopher Smart (currently a reporter for The Salt Lake Tribune), Mary Dickson, Katharine Biele, Lynn Packer, and notable Utah defense attorney Ron Yengich.

From 1992 onward, reporter Lynn Packer scooped many stories about then-Salt Lake City Mayor Deedee Corradini, and Bonneville Pacific, an energy company.[3] Ron Yengich's relationship with the paper would end days after he was retained as Corradini's attorney in 1996. Yengich had mocked the mayor in a Private Eye column just days before becoming her representative.[4]

In June 1996, Tom Walsh resigned from the paper to become an executive of another alternative weekly, the Miami New Times.[2] The Private Eye hosted the annual AAN convention May 29–31, 1996, after Walsh had already announced his resignation.

During 1996 the Private Eye Weekly's page count outgrew independent Salt Lake City presses, so the paper made printing arrangements with the publisher of the Ogden Standard-Examiner. Content for City Weekly is sent by computer to the press in Ogden, and bundles of printed papers are trucked back south into Salt Lake City. The paper also began posting all content online in 1996, originally using the URL City Weekly is currently available at and starting in 2005 began posting additional information on a sister-commerce site,

In the early 1990s the paper began giving out yearly awards that were chosen by readers. The categories and pages devoted to the "Best of Utah" issues expanded over time, and these issues are typically the largest published all year. Many establishments proudly display City Weekly "Best of..." awards, and often have several years' worth mounted above the cash register.

In 1996 the paper began recognizing local music in the "SLAMMY awards" (Salt Lake Area Music & More). As with the "Best of Utah" issues, locals are encouraged to vote for their favorite local bands and albums in different categories. The paper also hosts a party featuring several of the winners.

Salt Lake City Weekly

In 1997 the growing paper changed its name to Salt Lake City Weekly. This name is abbreviated to City Weekly on the paper's masthead. Many people misunderstood the paper's original name, assuming that the Private Eye was a detective agency.[5]

The paper published stories of the 2002 Winter Olympics bribery scandal. Discoveries that International Olympic Committee members apparently accepted gifts in return for votes to select Salt Lake City as the Olympic host erupted into an internationally-significant story in 1999 and 2000.

During the late 1990s, a suit to allow club and liquor advertising began making its way through local courts. City Weekly had tried and failed to persuade the state's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to lift Utah's peculiar restrictions on liquor advertising. National media like The Wall Street Journal and USA Today were published without constraints on their advertising.[6] The case dragged on for years in Utah District Court before Judge David Sam, who rejected the claim that advertising liquor in Utah was bound by national precedent.[7] The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned this ruling on July 24, 2001 when the court remanded plaintiff's request for appeal on the district court's ruling to deny preliminary injunction.[8] The Tenth Circuit stated that the plaintiffs satisfied requirements for an injunction, forcing the state to allow liquor advertising. In August, the Utah Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission began drafting amendments to legalize liquor advertising in print, in restaurants, and on billboards. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) thought that the Commission's proposed changes went too far and urged retention of the old rules.[9] John Saltas chided the LDS Church in an editorial, but offered them a free full-page ad so they could explain their position against liquor advertising. The Church had not previously advertised in the paper, which was often considered anti-Mormon, but they took Saltas up on his offer. On November 29, 2001 City Weekly published the LDS statement. In the same issue, City Weekly featured its first liquor ad, for Jim Beam. Saltas told the Tribune that the timing was "just an ironic coincidence."[10]

In October 2002, editor Christopher Smart left City Weekly for a higher-paying news position with The Salt Lake Tribune. Saltas named John Yewell as editor; Yewell was let go after nine months. The paper's editorship was turned temporarily over to Ben Fulton, a long-time associate editor at the paper. Later Saltas announced that Fulton's editorship would be permanent. During his many years at the paper, up to his leave as editor in April 2007, Fulton garnered many editorial awards, including a Hearst Award for long-form journalism, as well as several first-place awards from the Utah Chapter Society of Professional Journalists and the Utah Press Association.

As the paper gained popularity and staff, the load on John Saltas decreased. In 2003 he stepped aside as publisher, naming Jim Rizzi as his successor. Rizzi, with over 20 years of alternative weekly experience, was groomed for the position. Saltas had hired him as a vice president in 2002. After being uninvolved with the paper's operations for several months, Rizzi asked Saltas to contribute a weekly column. Saltas now writes a light-hearted, somewhat blog-like column called "Private Eye" where he talks aimlessly about his favorite Utah Jazz players (especially Carlos Arroyo), his Greek heritage, and jokes that he's soon going to be fired.

In April 2007 Holly Mullen was announced as the paper's new editor. She had been an area journalist for nine years, most recently (until January 2007) as a columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune. In addition to her renown as a leftist reporter and writer, she is now noted as the wife of former Salt Lake City Mayor Ted Wilson. On February 26, 2009, Mullen informed her friends through her Facebook profile that she had parted ways with the paper. At the same time, long-time City Weekly Managing Editor, Jerre Wroble was promoted to the Editor position.

Salt Lake City Weekly is currently available at over 2000 locations, including sites outside the Salt Lake Valley (such as the Tooele Valley). The paper is found online at The 60,000 weekly Circulation for City Weekly is independently audited by Verified Audit and has been so for nearly 20 years.

In 2009, the Utah SPJ awarded Salt Lake City Weekly 13 journalism awards.

Stephen Dark, a senior staff-writer won Best Newspaper Reporter. The judges wrote, "by far Dark had the most diverse and interesting subject matter. His ability to tell a story in a clean and compelling manner also stood out." Dark won in the Military Reporting category for "Diary of a Suicide" and in Religion/Values Reporting for "Swap Meet."

Scott Renshaw, the Arts and Entertainment Editor received 2nd place in Review/Criticism for the article, "Romancing the Stoned" and 2nd place for Headline Writing.

Eric S. Peterson received 2nd in Criminal Justice Reporting for the article, "Hard Labor" and 1st place in Consumer Reporting for the article, "Jacked" the judges wrote, "Peterson did an excellent job of raising questions about the necessity for steep state tax breaks for oil companies at a time when they were earning record profits. He attempted to independently calculate the cost to taxpayers, who he pointed out are paying more at the pump in Utah than residents of other states without such a big industry presence. He was also fair, offering significant commentary from oil executives who way they need breaks to counter the costly process of production. With both sides, Peterson facilitated an intellectual debate with no easy answers." Peterson won 1st place in the Government Reporting category for the article, "Drug Deal." The judges wrote "Peterson offers a comprehensive analysis of a no-bid contract and the influences that contributed to the deal-making process. Reporter went above and beyond his call of duty by investigating business incorporation records, raising questions about the validity of the company awarded work and the state's attending to detail. Looks ripe for a follow-up." Peterson received 3rd place in Minority Issues Reporting for "Afraid to Talk."

Ted McDonough won 3rd place for Consumer Reporting for the article "Renting Sucks!" he won 3rd Place in Medical/Science Reporting for "Dust Up" and placed 3rd in the Personality Profile category for "Final Shot."

Carolyn Campbell won 3rd place for "Gay Bride" in Religion/Values reporting.[11]


  • 1984 - 1992: John Saltas
  • 1992 - 1996: Tom Walsh
  • 1996 - October 2002: Christopher Smart
  • November 2002 - August 2003: John Yewell
  • August 2003 - April 2007: Ben Fulton
  • April 2007 - February 2009: Holly Mullen
  • February 2009–present: Jerre Wroble


  • 1984 - Nov 2003: John Saltas
  • Nov 2003–present: Jim Rizzi

City Weekly and politics

In its origin as a publication promoting Salt Lake City-area nightlife during a time when state alcohol regulations were more strict, City Weekly developed a reputation for its tendency to challenge established viewpoints—a reputation which now extends to the paper's coverage of local politics.

Apart from covering scandals about former Democratic Salt Lake City Mayor Deedee Corradini, the paper controversially editorialized against her and her associates. The paper often listed her actions as "misses" in the "Hits & Misses" column on the opinion page.

City Weekly attacks on district attorney Neal Gunnarson so upset him that he stole hundreds of copies of the paper from the racks in 1997. Technically, this is theft because only the first copy of publication is free; additional copies are one dollar each. An article appearing in the issue posited that Gunnarson was being too soft on Mayor Corradini, claiming that his weak prosecution didn't "pass the smell test."

During the 1999 mayoral elections, the scandal-ridden Corradini declined to seek re-election. City Weekly endorsed Rocky Anderson in a crowded primary. Anderson was an attorney who was once retained by the paper. Facing Stuart Reid, a member of Corradini's administration, Anderson won, but the paper remained neutral during his 2003 re-election. However, during Anderson's second term, he was visiting another city and crossed a police picket line in order to attend a scheduled meeting. He later remarked to a reporter that the line was not a picket line, but a demonstration, so there was no harm in crossing. This did not sit well with John Saltas, who viewed it as a repudiation of a useful labor negotiating tactic, and since that time Saltas has made several critical comments toward the Mayor in his columns.

In 2004, City Weekly published a series of articles criticizing embattled Salt Lake County mayor Nancy Workman. Workman was acquitted of criminal charges for misuse of County funds, but was forced out as a candidate by vote of the Salt Lake County Republican Party Central Committee. The Central Committee then proceeded to nominate and accept by acclamation candidate and developer Ellis Ivory. In the ensuing election last minute replacement Ellis Ivory, was defeated by Democrat Peter Corroon.

Relationships to other Salt Lake papers

City Weekly comments extensively on local media through a "media beat" column and letters from the editor. In 2006 the major newspapers (through their joint publishing arm, MediaOne, formerly the Newspaper Agency Corporation) launched In Utah This Week. Throughout the alternative newspaper industry, such publications produced by a city daily are referred to as Fake Alts, or FauxAlts.

Of the two daily papers in Salt Lake City, The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News, City Weekly surprisingly[citation needed] values[citation needed] the LDS Church-owned Deseret News for its investigative reporting in spite of its conservative[citation needed] editorial page.

Saltas has mocked the Tribune's byline "Utah's Independent Voice" by calling the paper "Utah's co-dependent voice." The paper, he points out, is published with the same MediaOne facilities as the two paper's joint operating agreement. Thus City Weekly casts the paper as being "less independent than it pretends to be."

The 2002 Tribune acquisition by Dean Singleton, owner of the nation's 7th largest newspaper chain, prompted an exposé. City Weekly asserted that increased cooperation and expansion of the two daily papers under Singleton's Tribune leadership hurt surrounding papers' viability. The Tribune has hired a two former reporters of the City Weekly, while City Weekly has hired nearly half dozen former Tribune reporters over the same time span, with moves in both directions affirming the legitimacy of news reporting in City Weekly.

Current Features

City Weekly tends to be geared toward a younger, more urban, and more liberal audience than the area's other papers. Some of its more prominent features include its reviews of art films (Scott Renshaw), restaurants (Ted Scheffler), local music groups (Portia Early), scheduled art shows and events, and television (Bill Frost). Founder Saltas writes a stream-of-thought column called "Private Eye". Ted McDonough writes an opinion-briefs feature called "Hits & Misses". The paper has a satire column called "Deep End" written by D.P. Sorensen who, among other things, jokingly claims to have been Mitt Romney's missionary companion. It also carries syndicated columns such as "News Quirks" by Roland Sweet, and "¡Ask a Mexican!" by Gustavo Arellano. Other syndicated features often seen in free alternative weeklies include the Straight Dope, by Chicago-based Cecil Adams, Free Will Astrology and comics such as Tom Tomorrow's This Modern World, and Keith Knight's K Chronicles. The paper has also expanded its online content in recent years, providing video features from actress/writer Deena Marie Manzanares and interview segment "Who The Hell". "Zionized: Local People Doing Local Stuff", is a weekly video web series produced by staff videographer, Marty Foy and airs every Wednesday on the website As well as adding material to their popular Salt Blog which includes topical postings from staff writers and editors, plus featured blogs from Tom Barberi and Gavin Sheehan.

City Weekly publishes a number of special issues each year, including the Best of Utah guide and the City Weekly Music Awards (formerly SLAMMys) issue (see also Music of Utah).


  1. ^ "Salt Lake City Weekly". Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. Retrieved 2007-01-03. 
  2. ^ a b c Hollstein, Milton (1996-05-20). "A Lurking "Private Eye" Keeps People On Their Toes". The Salt Lake Tribune. 
  3. ^ "Private Eye Weekly continues to live up to the expectations of an alternative publication with stories and viewpoints that mainstream media do not carry. The publication has relentlessly kept on top of Bonneville Pacific developments, thanks to the tenacity of free-lance writer Lynn Packer and the commitment of publisher John Saltas and managing editor Tom Walsh." – Evans, DeAnn (1994-01-16). "Business". The Salt Lake Tribune. p. F2. 
  4. ^ His column was titled "Ben (Franklin) and Deedee". Funk, Marianne (1996-11-28). "Yengich to Act as Corradini's Defender". Deseret News. 
  5. ^ "Private Eye changes its name to Salt Lake City Weekly". Deseret News. 1997-06-08. 
  6. ^ Dillon, Lucinda (1999-06-26). "S.L. weekly seeks OK to run beer ads". Deseret News. 
  7. ^ Relevant Supreme Court precedent cited by both the plaintiffs and the Tenth Circuit was 44 Liquormart, Inc. v. State of Rhode Island, 517 U.S. 484 (1996), which found that restriction on advertising the price of alcohol interfered with free speech rights incorporated in the First and Fourteenth Amendment
  8. ^ Utah Licensed Bev. Ass'n v. Leavitt, 256 F.3d 1061 (2001)
  9. ^ Van Eyck, Zack (2001-10-10). "Church slaps alcohol ads". Deseret News. 
  10. ^ Burton, Greg (2001-11-29). "Liquor Ad, LDS Letter Share Same Publication". Salt Lake Tribune. 
  11. ^ Utah Headliners Awards

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