It’s time again for the Tooele Transcript Bulletin to cut some birthday cake, and we better get started, because we have a lot of candles to blow out.
Come Thursday, your twice-weekly community newspaper has reported on Tooele County news for 123 years. The day also marks another year for the Transcript Bulletin as the county’s oldest continuous business. For us, both are milestones to celebrate.
The Transcript Bulletin began on June 29, 1894 with two men named Beasley and F. E. Gabriel as publishers. In the first edition, the men described the purpose of their fledgling newspaper:
“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 but died later that year. The man’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, the Transcript Bulletin 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.
And since those early years, the Transcript Bulletin has won numerous awards for journalism, photojournalism, design and advertising excellence. The honors continued this year with 17 more from the Utah Press Association in April, and earlier this month, 15 from the Utah Headliners chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
But the biggest award of all this year came from SPJ, which honored the newspaper’s Publisher Emeritus Joel Dunn with the journalism organization’s first “Lifetime Achievement” award. Dunn was the newspaper’s editor from 1950 to 1964 and its publisher from 1964 to 1994. In all, he devoted 44 years of his life to the craft and art of newspaper publishing.
Although long retired, Dunn’s heart in journalism hasn’t waned. He meets with the newsroom staff weekly to discuss story ideas and ongoing coverage. His commitment to journalism integrity, community journalism, and keeping readers first, is an inspiration.
With humble gratitude, we know that our growth and success over the past 123 years has been made possible only by our loyal readers who want to know and understand what is happening from City Hall to Ibapah.
We are grateful for the opportunity to serve in that capacity, and will maintain our reporting principles of fairness and a deep respect for the power of the written word. By doing so, we will further contribute to the greater good of the Tooele County community.