The Deseret News (// (listen)) is a publishing company based in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. Until December 31, 2020, it was Utah's oldest continuously published daily newspaper; it has the largest Sunday circulation in the state. The Deseret News is owned by Deseret News Publishing Company, a subsidiary of Deseret Management Corporation, a holding company owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The paper's name is derived from the word for "honeybee" in the Book of Mormon.
|Type||Weekly print newspapers with daily online editions and national magazine|
|Format||Digital and more|
|Owner(s)||Deseret News Publishing Company|
(Deseret Management Corporation)
|Editor||Doug Wilks and Hal Boyd|
|Founded||June 15, 1850 (172 years ago)|
|Headquarters||55 N 300 W|
Salt Lake City, Utah 84101
|Circulation||40,719 Weekday (print)|
109,330 Sunday (print)
98,382 Weekday (digital)
98,150 Sunday (digital)
(as of May 2014)
At the end of 2020, the newspaper switched from a daily to a weekly print format with daily online editions. As of 2022, Deseret News develops daily online content in addition to weekly print editions of the Deseret News Local Edition and the Church News. Deseret News also publishes 10 editions of Deseret Magazine per year.
The Deseret News also publishes a weekly compact-sized insert, the Church News, which is included in the newspaper; it also is distributed as a separate publication outside Utah. The Church News includes news of the LDS Church and has been published since 1931. From 1974 to 2013, the Deseret News published the Church Almanac, an annual edition carrying LDS Church facts and statistics edited by Church News staff.
The editorial tone of the Deseret News is usually described as moderate to conservative, and is often assumed to reflect the values of its owner, the LDS Church. The newspaper does not accept advertising that violates church standards.
Founding and early yearsEdit
On March 31, 1847, while at Winter Quarters, Nebraska, the LDS Church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles authorized William W. Phelps to "go east and procure a printing press" to be taken to the future Mormon settlement in the Great Basin.: 3–4 Phelps left Winter Quarters sometime in May, and went to Boston by way of the former Mormon settlement of Nauvoo, Illinois. In Boston, with the help of William I. Appleby, the president of the Church's Eastern States Mission, and Church member Alexander Badlam, Phelps was able to procure a wrought iron Ramage hand-press, type, and other required equipment. He returned to Winter Quarters on November 12, 1847, with the press.: 11–12 Due partly to its size and weight, the press and equipment would not be taken to Salt Lake City until 1849. By that time many of the Mormon pioneers had left Winter Quarters and the press was moved across the Missouri River to another temporary Mormon settlement, Kanesville, Iowa.: 16 In April 1849 the press and other church property was loaded onto ox drawn wagons, and traveled with the Howard Egan Company along the Mormon Trail.: 17 The wagon company, with the press, arrived in the Salt Lake Valley August 7, 1849.
The press was moved into a small adobe building (just east of the present site of the Hotel Utah) that also served as a coin mint for the settlers. The press was at first used to print the necessary documents (such as laws, records, and forms) used in setting up the provisional State of Deseret.: 368–368
The first issue of the Deseret News was published June 15, 1850, and was eight pages long. This first issue included the paper's prospectus, written by the editor Willard Richards, along with news from the United States Congress, and a report on the San Francisco 1849 Christmas Eve fire; an event which had occurred six months prior. Because it was meant to be the voice of the State of Deseret, it was called the Deseret News, and its motto was "Truth and Liberty." It was at first a weekly Saturday publication, and published in "pamphlet form" in hopes that readers would have the papers bound into volumes. Subscription rate was $2.50 for six months.
A jobs press, usually called the Deseret News Press, was also set up so the News could print books, booklets, handbills, broadsides, etc., for paying customers and other publishers.: 74
From the beginning, paper shortages were a problem for the News staff. Starting with the October 19, 1850 issue—only four months after publication began—the paper had to be changed to a bi-weekly publication.: 53 Even so, many times in the 1850s there were several periods when the News could not be published for lack of paper; one period lasted three months during the fall of 1851.: 54–55
Thomas Howard, a Mormon immigrant from England, and a paper-maker, approached Brigham Young about using some machinery—originally meant for producing sugar—to make their own paper; Young agreed to the plan. The publishers asked everyone to donate old paper and cloth to the venture. In the summer of 1854 the first issues of the News were published on "homemade paper" that was very thick, and grayish in color.: 56–57
Even with paper shortages, occasionally a News extra would be published, if there were important news or a sermon that could not wait for the regular publication date.: 73
During a turbulent time period, later known as the Utah War, the News presses and equipment were moved to the central and southern parts of the state. As armed forces of the United States camped just outside the state at Fort Bridger, George Q. Cannon was assigned to take some presses and equipment to Fillmore while Henry McEwan was to take the remainder to Parowan. On May 5, 1858 the first issue of the News with Fillmore City as the publication place appeared; issues would continue to be printed in both Fillmore and Parowan until September 1858: 89–90 While in Fillmore, the press was kept in the basement of the Utah Territorial Statehouse. That fall the presses were brought back to Salt Lake City and placed in the Council House, allowing the News to begin normal operations. The soldiers who had marched to Utah during the war would remain at the newly constructed Camp Floyd. Their need for a newspaper, one not published by the LDS Church, was satisfied with Kirk Anderson's Valley Tan, the area's second newspaper (and first competitor to the News); published November 6, 1858.: 98
Challenges and changesEdit
The coming of the Pony Express to Utah in 1860 would bring changes to the paper, allowing news from the East to arrive in the Territory much faster. Even so, the paper remained a weekly, with News extras being published with more frequency and temporary renamed The Pony Dispatch.
Yet, paper problems still plagued the publishers; paper was very expensive to haul from California or the East, and attempts at making paper in the valley were still, for the most part, futile. In 1860 a paper-making machine had been purchased, and set-up in the Deseret Manufacturing Company sugar house factory, but lack of available materials meant a lack of paper. As a result, Brigham Young called George Goddard on a rag-gathering mission. Goddard traveled through the territory collecting rags that would then be turned into paper, and was able to supply enough to keep the News in production.: 124–125 Other problems such as ice and drought on the stream, running out of Parley's Canyon, that ran the paper mill caused the paper to have short lapses in publication.: 125
In October 1861 the lines of the First Transcontinental Telegraph met in Salt Lake City, making the Pony Express obsolete, and bringing news to the Territory almost instantly. The News extras, now sometimes called telegraphic dispatches, were printed with even more frequency.
In March 1862, the News and its staff moved from the Council House to the Deseret Store,: 125 and in 1864 a steam-powered printing press arrived; it was placed in the basement the building.: 126 The set type was lowered from the offices in the building's upper floor to the basement, through holes in the each floor. Later an addition was constructed to the east of this building, and the presses were moved into that building.: 181
On October 8, 1865 the News launched its semi-weekly edition, this allowed news to get out more quickly and allowed for more advertisements. The weekly edition would continue and contained much of the same content as the semi-weekly, but editorials were different.: 141
In November 1867, George Q. Cannon became the editor, and on the 21st of that month, the News published its first daily edition, which was printed in the evening, and as such was named The Deseret Evening News.: 146 Most of what was published in the daily edition, was also published in the weekly and semi-weekly, as the daily was meant for city readers and the weekly and semi-weekly for those living in the more rural areas of the territory.: 150 Until December 1898 all three editions—the weekly, semi-weekly, and daily—were published concurrently.: 171
In 1870, the Mormon Tribune, later named The Salt Lake Tribune, was first printed, adding a new newspaper rival to the Salt Lake area. Since its founding the Tribune and News have often been involved in "newspaper battles," times when they could not agree on anything, even secular items. During these battles the News has often been called grandmother, granny, or The Mormon Hand Organ.: 196
Since its first publication, the News had been owned directly by the LDS Church, but as worries about property confiscation increased due to the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act and Poland Act, the paper's ownership was transferred to The Deseret News Company following incorporation on September 3, 1880.: 183 About this same time the News began looking for a location to build a new paper mill, as the Sugar House paper plant was inadequate. A new granite plant was constructed near the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon, 13 miles south of the paper's offices. The mill began producing paper in April 1883, and was known as the Cottonwood Paper Mill. The News would sell the paper mill in 1892 to the Granite Paper Mills Company.: 199–200 The mill caught fire and was destroyed April 1, 1893.
On October 1, 1892, The Deseret News Company leased the News along with all the company's printing, bookbinding, and merchandising to the Cannon family. The family was, at that time, operating the George Q. Cannon & Sons bookstore in downtown Salt Lake City. When the lease began the family formed the Deseret News Printing Company, which was to be the lessee, while The Deseret News Company would remain a legal entity as the lessor. Two children of former News editor George Q. Cannon would play prominent roles during this period, with John Q. Cannon as editor and Abraham H. Cannon as business manager.: 207–208 The leasing had occurred due to financial troubles, and the Cannon family hoped to make the business profitable. This did not happen and the paper's assets and property were transferred back to The Deseret News Company on September 7, 1898; after almost six years under the control of the Cannon family. The family's Deseret News Publishing Company was dissolved after the lease was gone, and within a few months The Deseret News Company was also dissolved and ownership of the paper was returned directly to the LDS Church.: 225–226
When the LDS Church regained direct control over the News, Horace G. Whitney was appointed business manager and Charles W. Penrose returned as editor. Immediately the paper's weekly edition, The Deseret Weekly, was discontinued; its last issue was published December 10, 1898.: 230–231
On October 1, 1900 the George Q. Cannon & Sons bookstore was sold to the LDS Church, and renamed the Deseret News Bookstore. In 1920 the Deseret Sunday School Union Bookstore was also consolidated into the Deseret News Bookstore, and eventually the bookstore would become its own company, Deseret Book.
In 1903 the News moved out from its longtime home in the Deseret Store, kitty-corner to a newly constructed building. This was the first time the paper had a building constructed expressly for it. It was designed by Richard K.A. Kletting and built with stone from Mount Nebo in Central Utah. While the building was under construction, a fire destroyed the Oregon Short Line building in Salt Lake City, and the railroad wanted to rent space in the new building. As a result, the News constructed an annex to the west of the new building for more space.: 243–244 This new home was at the site of the former Council House; presently the Beneficial Tower (Gateway Tower West) sits at this location.
The daily, called the Deseret Evening News, was renamed to the Deseret News on June 15, 1920; the paper's 70th anniversary. The semi-weekly was discontinued on June 22, 1922, leaving the daily as the only news publication. Two days later the News announced it had purchased the Utah Farmer, a weekly agricultural paper; which it would eventually sell.: 283–284
In 1926 the News once again moved into a new building, this time on Richard's Street (just south of the present Deseret Book store in City Creek Center.) This same year, the News began using teletype technology to receive news from the Associated Press.: 288–289
During the 1920s the paper's circulation nearly doubled, reaching almost 40,000.: 291
On November 20, 1920, the News began airing nightly wireless news flashes, called the Deseret News-International News Service bulletins. The paper had also formed The Deseret News Wireless Club, with members across the Western United States who would transcribe the radio bulletins and post them in their communities.: 269 In April 1922 the paper received a license to officially operate a radio station, with call letters KZN (later changed to KSL). The station's first regular broadcast aired on May 6, 1922 in the form of a talk by then-LDS Church president Heber J. Grant. In 1924 the station was sold to John Cope and his father, F.W. Cope, who formed the Radio Service Corporation of Utah. The LDS Church would later purchase this corporation and go on to create KSL-TV. The News, KSL Radio, and KSL Television remain closely linked via the global operating company, Deseret Management Corporation, which also manages Bonneville International, Deseret Book Company, among other organizations.
The Deseret News Publishing CompanyEdit
The News had been under the direct ownership of the Church since 1898, when The Deseret News Company was dissolved. On December 29, 1931, the Deseret News Publishing Company was incorporated (not to be confused with the Deseret News Publishing Company formed in 1892 by the Cannon family to lease ownership of the paper, and dissolved when the lease was over). Its articles of incorporation, filed with the Salt Lake County Clerk, provided for 500 shares of stock, all retained by the Church (with the exception of the qualifying directors' shares).
First Sunday editionEdit
On May 16, 1948 the News would deliver its first Sunday paper. The first Sunday edition contained 154 pages with a new farm, home, and garden section.: 339 The Sunday edition would continue into the 1950s, when an agreement with The Salt Lake Tribune would cease publication.
Newspaper Agency CorporationEdit
After World War II the Deseret News, The Salt Lake Tribune and the Salt Lake Telegram were all struggling financially, but no more than the Deseret News. In September 1952, the owners of the News (LDS Church) and Tribune (Thomas Kearns Family) entered into a joint operating agreement (JOA), where each published separate editorial material while sharing printing, advertising and circulation costs. This JOA was the brainchild of Tribune Publisher John F. Fitzpatrick who helped LDS President David O. McKay ensure the continuation of the Deseret News. As its architect, Fitzpatrick knew that this NAC arrangement would also benefit the Tribune. The News stopped Sunday publication; subscribers received a Sunday Tribune instead. The Deseret News also purchased the afternoon Salt Lake Telegram from the Tribune. The Telegram was discontinued, and into the mid-1960s, the paper's nameplate read: The Deseret News and Salt Lake Telegram. The 30-year agreement between the two papers was renewed in 1982, with some changes. The Newspaper Agency Corporation was renamed to MediaOne of Utah in 2007.
In 1968 the News once again moved, this time into a new building on Regent Street.
Sunday morning editionEdit
The joint operating agreement with the Tribune in 1952 had ended the paper's Sunday edition, but when the 30-year-old agreement was up for renewal, it was changed to allow the News to publish a Sunday morning edition and change its Saturday publication from an evening to morning paper. The first Sunday morning edition of the News appeared January 16, 1983, and the paper has published a Sunday edition ever since.
Regent Street headquartersEdit
The newspaper moved into its newly constructed headquarters on Regent Street downtown Salt Lake City in 1997.
The Salt Lake TribuneEdit
As the twentieth century ended, the Deseret News found itself embroiled in a contentious and often public battle with The Salt Lake Tribune, centered around the terms of their joint operating agreement, the desire of the Deseret News to switch from afternoon to morning publication, and ownership changes at the Tribune. The battle was resolved with the 2000 sale of the Tribune and with the News switching to morning publication and changing its name on June 9, 2003 to the Deseret Morning News.
On January 26, 1995 the News launched the Crossroads Information Network, allowing subscribers to access the News digitally through their dial-up service; digital-only subscriptions were also created. Installation of the Crossroads software—which was mailed on floppy disk to each subscriber beginning in February 1995—was required on each user's computer. The network also allowed users to access the paper's complete text along with archives back to April 1988, the Church News and the LDS Church Almanac. The software allowed subscribers to communicate with each other through an email-like system. Eventually the Crossroads Information Network was shut down and its features were moved to DesNews.com, which itself was replaced with DeseretNews.com.
The paper's first website, DesNews.com, was launched on September 27, 1995. This allowed News content to be accessed through an internet website, rather than the software required by Crossroads. The website was meant for those outside the Salt Lake area, who had to pay long-distance calling charges when dialed into the Crossroads network.
On April 13, 2008, Joseph A. Cannon announced in a front page editor's note that the name of the newspaper had been changed back to the Deseret News, although the News would continue to be published in the morning.
In November 2016, Doug Wilks became the editor of the Deseret News.
In October 2016, breaking an 80-year tradition of staying out of U.S. presidential politics, the Deseret News editorial board urged its readers not to vote for Donald Trump.
In December 2020, the Deseret News editorial board again broke political neutrality by denouncing Utah Attorney General Reyes' decision to join Texas and five other states (and 18 other states in amicus curiae), in a Supreme Court lawsuit asking the Court to delay finalizing the election until all claims of ballot harvesting, deceased voting, and poll watcher exclusions are investigated.
In 2021, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) demanded a retraction after a statement attributed to him and published in Deseret News on January 7, 2021, was brought up during the Second impeachment trial of Donald Trump.
Sunday national edition Edit
Type of site
|Online publication featuring articles covering contemporary Mormon culture and current events|
|Created by||Deseret News Publishing Company|
The Sunday Deseret News's national edition (whose "Faith" section was formerly known as "Mormon Times"), published in Salt Lake City, is a national and international weekly concentrating its reporting and feature articles on areas of interest to members of the LDS Church. It is only available outside of the U.S. state of Utah. Material featured in the national edition of the Deseret News is available as an online subscription, and Mormon Times is the title of an affiliated weekly television program.
The paper is not an official publication of the LDS Church, though it does include the weekly official Church News section that provides news of the LDS Church. In August 2011, Joseph Walker became editor of the Deseret News's "Faith" section, including the Mormon-themed content branded as Mormon Times.
According to its publisher, the national edition's circulation as of July 8, 2012[update], was 107,000 subscribers from outside the state of Utah. (In April 2013, the Deseret News's digital circulation was 56,755, the 22nd largest among newspapers' digital versions in the U.S.)
"Faith" section's featuresEdit
Mormon Times brings the stories, photos, and updates of the more than 50,000 LDS missionaries all together in one place.
The education section contains current-event items drawn from across the Church Educational System (CES), including its seminary program, regular firesides, and the units of CES higher education, such as Brigham Young University (BYU).
Mormon Times works with the Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research to provide its readers with answers on a wide variety of topics in a Q&A section.
The paper also has a broader faith section that covers stories that have no relation to Mormonism, and just broadly touch on religious topics or specifically mention religions other than Mormonism.
Mormon Times was created as a publication with its own independent circulation base and also as the Religion section of the Deseret News in January 2008. In July 2011, both the Deseret News's religion section, still available separately, was renamed "Faith", with the Mormon Times label henceforward applying only to its LDS-themed content.
Mormon Times (TV series)Edit
Following the success of the Mormon Times in print and online, a TV series premiered on October 3, 2010. The TV series contains short segments with summaries of popular stories from the print version, along with interviews, and is hosted by Michelle King. The show is aired Sunday mornings, and is part of KSL-TV's Legacy Sundays programing block, which also airs the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Music and the Spoken Word and History of the Saints.
The online edition of the Deseret News allows civil comments from those who first register with their name, email plus a screen name and password. Staff also moderates to prevent publication of comments that are deemed vulgar, uncivil, or personally attacking.
The newspaper's editors included the following:
- 1850–1854: Willard Richards
- 1854–1859: Albert Carrington
- 1859–1863: Elias Smith
- 1863–1867: Albert Carrington
- 1867–1873: George Q. Cannon
- 1873–1877: David O. Calder
- 1877–1879: George Q. Cannon
- 1880–1892: Charles W. Penrose
1884–1885: John Nicholson, George C. Lambert (acting, during absence of Penrose)
- 1892–1898: John Q. Cannon
- 1898–1899: Janne M. Sjödahl
- 1899–1907: Charles W. Penrose
- 1907–1914: Janne M. Sjödahl
- 1914–1917: E. Leroy Bourne
- 1919–1922: John Q. Cannon
- 1922–1928: Harold Goff
- 1928: Alexander Buchanan, Jr.
- 1928–1931: John Q. Cannon
- 1931–1934: Joseph J. Cannon
- 1934–1943: James A. Langton
- 1943–1946: David A. Robinson
- 1946–1952: Mark E. Petersen
- 1952–1964: O. Preston Robinson
- 1964–1972: E. Earl Hawkes
- 1972–1986: William B. Smart
- 1985–1996: Jim Mortimer
- 1997–2006: John Hughes
- 2007–2010: Joseph A. Cannon
- 2011–2016: Paul S. Edwards
- 2016–present: Doug Wilks
Summer 2010 saw multiple changes both in leadership and structure at the Deseret News. A new Opinion Editor, Paul S. Edwards, was appointed. Edwards had previously been provost at Southern Virginia University and earlier a political science professor at Brigham Young University (BYU). Editor Joe Cannon and publisher Jim Wall stepped down.
During the summer of 2010 it was announced that the Deseret News for the first time ever would have a president and CEO; Clark Gilbert was appointed to this position. He was already CEO of Deseret Digital Media.
Gilbert announced the future of Deseret News was leaner, and more online. In August 2010 he announced the layoffs of 85 staffers, 57 full-time and 28 part-time. It resulted in a reduction of 43% of the paper's entire staff.
The Deseret News also created an editorial advisory board to work with Gilbert and Edwards; it consisted of people with a broad variety of backgrounds:
- Joseph Cannon, who had up until that time been the Deseret News editor.
- Pamela Atkinson, a Presbyterian philanthropist based in Salt Lake City
- Clayton M. Christensen, a professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.
- Sheri L. Dew, LDS author and president/CEO of Deseret Book, in Salt Lake City, Utah.
- Robert P. George, past chairman of the National Organization For Marriage, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and prominent conservative Christian thinker.
- Matthew S. Holland, president of Utah Valley University (UVU) in Orem, Utah; son of Jeffrey R. Holland, LDS apostle.
- Firoz "King" Hussein, CEO of Span Construction and Engineering a native of India who did graduate studies at BYU, is a convert to the LDS Church and currently serves as an LDS bishop in Monterey, California
- Jane Clayson Johnson, Emmy-winning journalist and author.
- Jeffrey Max Jones, former senator and cabinet minister in Mexico
- Mary McConnell, curriculum consultant at Juan Diego Catholic High School in Draper, Utah, former Rhodes scholar and speech-writer for Caspar Weinberger
- Michael W. McConnell, former federal judge, current professor at Stanford Law School
- Gordon H. Smith, former US Senator
- Hannah Clayson Smith, lawyer with the Becket Fund, Princeton University and BYU Law School graduate, former clerk for Supreme Court Justices Alito and Thomas
- Catherine Stokes, former deputy director of the Illinois Department of Health, an African American from Chicago, graduate of DePaul University and long-time member of the LDS Church and Utah resident since 2006, active with the Utah Chapter of the African-American Genealogical and Historical Society
Another part of the restructuring of the Deseret News involved the creation of Deseret Connect, a group of about 1000 screened contributors who provide content at little or no charge to the paper.
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- The Tribune was acquired by Dean Singleton (via his MediaNews Group) in 2000; see 
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Deseret News, which is owned by the Mormon Church, has stayed out of presidential politics for 80 years. But the editorial board urged all of its readers over the weekend [October 8th and 9th, 2016] not to vote for [Donald] Trump.
- Board, The Deseret News Editorial (December 10, 2020). "In our opinion: The election is over. Sean Reyes should know that". Deseret News.
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