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News that a Huntsman family member is buying The Salt Lake Tribune sparked questions about the newspaper's future editorial direction.

Paul Huntsman, who heads Huntsman Family Investments, the private-equity firm purchasing Utah's largest daily, offered few details, declining to comment at length until the transaction was completed.

In a news release, the 46-year-old businessman said his family was "honored to be stewards" of the paper and that it "hoped to ensure The Tribune's independent voice for future generations."

Tribune Editor and Publisher Terry Orme said he spoke briefly Wednesday with Huntsman but did not discuss editorial policies. But Orme, a longtime Tribune employee who took over the top post in 2013, said he was not overly concerned — despite the Huntsman family's considerable business interests, religious ties and political ambitions.

While Orme said any owner would be expected to put a stamp on the paper, "I'm not staying awake nights worrying."

"Local ownership always brings the need for vigilance against conflicts of interest and an owner inserting themselves in news coverage," he said. "That goes without saying.

"But it gives me confidence," Orme added, "to hear Mr. Huntsman say he's doing this to preserve what he considers an important journalistic voice."

Retired newspaper magnate Dean Singleton, a former Tribune publisher and a longtime friend of Jon Huntsman Sr., helped negotiate the pending purchase and said the family approached it with a strong sense of public service.

"With the Huntsmans, it won't be the dollars first," Singleton said. "It will be the community first."

Many Huntsman family members are faithful Mormons. But more importantly, according to Pamela Atkinson, a Presbyterian and longtime advocate for Utah's homeless, they value diversity.

"I've heard the family talk about this — how important it is to have different voices in the media, and to make sure that all voices are heard throughout Utah," Atkinson said. "The fact they [Huntsmans] are members of the LDS Church doesn't mean they will try and make The Tribune fit in the church."

The Huntsmans, she said, "like the diversity of opinion in our diverse community, and I think that will be reflected in their ownership of The Tribune."

In terms of politics, family patriarch Jon Huntsman Sr. worked for President Richard Nixon, a Republican. Paul Huntsman's older brother, Jon Huntsman Jr., served as Utah's governor from 2005 to 2009 and sought the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Gayle Ruzicka, head of the ultraconservative Utah Eagle Forum, noted that Huntsman family members have held differing political views through the years. (Jon Jr., for instance, backs same-sex marriage.)

"A family with so many differences running the paper," Ruzicka said, "we may have a paper with varying ideas and suggestions and opinions."

State Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, was recently the public face of a left-leaning group of five investors who said they sought to buy The Tribune — before the Huntsman announcement.

Dabakis said Wednesday he was "cautiously optimistic."

"I really would like to talk to the Huntsman family to make sure that their values are the same as our group's values and that the paper would not turn into the Deseret News-lite," Dabakis said, referring to the LDS Church-owned News, also based in Salt Lake City. " ... It is urgently critical for Utah to maintain this independent, progressive voice."

Reporters Matt Canham and Peggy Fletcher Stack contributed to this story.