Editor and Publisher has a great synopsis of why they're not good for journalism. Three main points.
1. Their news coverage is restricted by wealthy donor interests and pressures. (E&P has specifics in the TT's case, re John Sharp/Texas A&M.) So, no "probing" journalism, if told not to. (That said, I've experienced that at for-profit papers, too.)
2. "Freeloading" by for-profit papers, with the possible result of further salary depression, etc.
3. Back-scratching for friends. Evan Smith's $315K salary as the Trib's executive editor has been mentioned by me before. I consider it out of line in general, especially since one of the Trib's "sponsors," Texas A&M, gets taxpayer money.
The first point is something I've seen coming down the point for some time. Rich funders of nonprofit papers, whether individuals or foundations, can steer these papers into boutique journalism, spike or lighten negative stories and more.
Here's another T-Trib story, a good one that could have been better, about drought and farmers depleting the Ogallala Aquifer. But, no questions were asked, facts stipulated, or anything else, about global warming and climate change. Why not?
Anyway, next time you see the Trib do an in-depth piece, ask further questions of the story.