Tooele City was first settled in 1849 and Tooele County established around 1850. But it wasn’t until nearly 45 years later that a published “voice” emerged to keep the fledgling pioneer community on the edge of the Great Basin frontier informed.
That “voice” is the Tooele Transcript Bulletin. This Friday, your community newspaper turns a salty, yet vibrant 124 years old. The day also marks another year for the Transcript Bulletin as the county’s oldest continuous business. We see both milestones as significant achievements.
The Transcript Bulletin got its start on June 29, 1894, with two ambitious men named Beasley and F. E. Gabriel as publishers. In the first edition, the men described the purpose of their fledgling newspaper with an abundance of modifiers — the bane of working professional journalists today:
“It will be breezily brilliant, winningly witty, curiously clean, satisfactorily sagacious and liberally loquacious, non-partisan in politics, independent in expression. Mining, agriculture, stock raising, fruit growing, general and local news as well as breezy, pungent departments of absorbing interest, as well as timely editorial talks will constitute the contents of The Transcript…”
By 1897, Gabriel became sole owner of the newspaper, but died later that year. Gabriel’s widow, in search of an editor, turned to a local farmer who was known in the community for his love of books and poetry. That man was James Dunn.
A Mormon convert from Scotland, Dunn agreed to become the newspaper’s editor. Then on July 8, 1898, he bought the Transcript with a reported $10 down payment and became publisher and editor. The paper was printed on an armory press, which was inked and operated by hand.
After acquiring a rival paper called The Bulletin, the Tooele Transcript Bulletin became the newspaper’s official name on Dec. 4, 1923. Since 1898 to the present, it has been owned and operated by the Dunn family, beginning with James as the first publisher and followed by the late Alex Dunn, Publisher Emeritus Joel Dunn, and Scott Dunn, present-day president and publisher.
Since James Dunn became editor and publisher, the Transcript Bulletin has made it part of its corporate culture to invest in the best people and equipment. As a result, your community newspaper has won hundreds of awards over the years for journalism, photojournalism, design and advertising excellence.
Such awards continued this year with 22 from the Utah Press Association in April, and 17 this month from the Utah Headliners chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. One of the biggest honors from SPJ was the Best News Reporter award to Staff Writer Tim Gillie.
Awards are gratifying and serve as a benchmark on how well we’re writing the news. But our ultimate growth and success over the past 124 years has nothing to do with trophies — we owe it all to our loyal readers, who look to and trust the Transcript Bulletin to report with accuracy and fairness.
The power of the written word is revered at the Transcript Bulletin. It has been that way since James Dunn was at the helm. We pledge to continue that honor today and always with gratitude for the opportunity to serve the citizens of Tooele County.