Deseret News

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Deseret News
Deseret News logo.svg
File:Deseret News (front page).jpg
Type Daily newspaper
Format Broadsheet
Owner(s) Deseret News Publishing Company
(Deseret Management Corporation)
Publisher none
Editor Paul S. Edwards
Founded June 15, 1850 (172 years ago)
Headquarters 30 East 100 South
Salt Lake City, Utah 84111
United States[1]
Circulation 40,719 Weekday (print)
109,330 Sunday (print)
98,382 Weekday (digital)
98,150 Sunday (digital)
(as of May 2014)[2]
ISSN 0745-4724

The Deseret News (Listeni/dɛz.əˈrɛt./[3]) is a newspaper published in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. It is Utah's oldest continuously published daily newspaper, and has the second largest daily circulation in the state behind The Salt Lake Tribune, but the largest Sunday circulation. The 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 newspaper is printed by the Newspaper Agency Corporation, which it co-owns with The Salt Lake Tribune under a joint operating agreement. In 2006, combined circulation of the two papers was 151,422.[4]

The Deseret News also publishes a weekly compact-sized insert, the Church News, and the Mormon Times insert, both of which are included in the newspaper (in the Saturday and Thursday editions, respectively); the two inserts are also distributed as a separate publication outside of Utah. The Church News includes news of the LDS Church and has been published since 1931,[5] while the Mormon Times is about "the people, faith and culture associated with the church".[6] Since 1974 the Deseret News has also 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. For example, the newspaper does not accept advertising that violates church standards.



The press

Front page of the first issue of the Deseret News, published June 15, 1850

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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10] The wagon company, with the press, arrived in the Salt Lake Valley August 7, 1849.[11]

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.[12] 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.[13]

First issue

The first issue of the Deseret News was published June 15, 1850, and was 8 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.[14] 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.[15] 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.[16]


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.[17] 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.[18]

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.[19]

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.[20]

Utah War

The Utah Territorial Statehouse, home of the News during the Utah War
An early News printing press displayed in the statehouse basement

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[21] 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.[22]

During the 1850s through 1860s numerous articles in the News were printed in the Deseret Alphabet.[23]


The coming of the Pony Express to Utah in 1860 would bring changes to the paper, allowing news from the East to arrive to 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.[24]

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.[25] 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.[26]

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.

The Deseret Store, home of the Deseret News from 1851-1854 and 1862-1903

In March 1862 the News and its staff moved from the Council House to the Deseret Store,[26] and in 1864 a steam-powered printing press arrived; it was placed in the basement the building.[27] 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.[28]

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.[29]

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 published in the evening, and as such was named The Deseret Evening News.[30] 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.[31] Until December 1898 all three editions—the weekly, semi-weekly, and daily—were published concurrently.[32]

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.[33]

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, and the paper's ownership was transferred to The Deseret News Company after it was on incorporated September 3, 1880 [34] About this same time the News began looking for a location to build a new paper mill, as the Sugar House paper plant was not adequate. 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.[35] The News would sell the paper mill in 1892 to the Granite Paper Mills Company.[36] The mill caught fire and was destroyed April 1, 1893.

Changing ownership

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.[37] 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 ownership 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.[38]

When the 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.[39]


The Deseret News and Union Pacific Building, home of the News from 1903 to 1926

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.[40] 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 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.[41]

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.[42]

During the 1920s the paper's circulation nearly doubled, reaching almost 40,000.[43]


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.[44] 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.[45] 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.[46] The News, KSL Radio, and KSL Television continue to remain closely linked.


The Deseret News Publishing Company

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).[47]

First Sunday edition

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.[48] The Sunday edition would continue into the 1950s, when an agreement with The Salt Lake Tribune would end it.

1952: Newspaper Agency Corporation

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.


Deseret News reporter Robert Mullins won a Pulitzer Prize in 1962 for local reporting "for his resourceful coverage of a murder and kidnapping at Dead Horse Point State Park".

In 1968 the News once again moved, this time into a new building on Regent Street.

Sunday morning edition

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.[49] The first Sunday morning edition of the News appeared January 16, 1983, and the paper has published a Sunday edition ever since.


The former location of the Deseret News on Regent Street. The newspaper's logotype was carved into the top of the building's façade (since filled in by its new tenant) to give the building the appearance of the newspaper.

The newspaper moved into its newly constructed headquarters in on Regent Street downtown Salt Lake City in 1997.

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[50] and with the News switching to morning publication and changing its name on June 9, 2003 to the Deseret Morning News.

Internet presence

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 e-mail-like system.[51][52] Eventually the Crossroads Information Network was shut down and its features were moved to, which itself was replaced with

The paper's first website,, 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 of the Salt Lake area, who had to pay long-distance calling charges when dialed into the Crossroads network.[53][54]


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.[55]


The Triad Center in downtown Salt Lake City, current home of the News

In 2010 the Deseret News moved its offices out of the Deseret News Building to the broadcast house in the Triad Center, so they could integrate with KSL's newsroom.[56]

In May 2011 the Deseret News launched an expanded business section with Jordan Burke, formerly an editor with Bloomberg, as the business editor.[57]

Sunday national edition

Web address
Type of site
Online publication featuring articles covering contemporary Mormon culture and current events
Available in English
Created by The Deseret News
Alexa rank
5,925,287 (August 2012)[58]
Current status Active

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 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).[59][60] 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.[61]

The paper is not an official publication of the LDS Church. It also includes the weekly official Church News section that provides news of the LDS Church.[62] In August 2011, Joseph Walker became editor of the Deseret News's "Faith" section, including the Mormon-themed content branded as Mormon Times.[63]

According to its publisher, the national edition's circulation as of July 8, 2012, was 107,000 subscribers from outside of the state of Utah.[64][65] (In April 2013, the Deseret News's digital circulation was 56,755, the 22nd largest among newspapers' digital versions in the U.S.[66])

"Faith" section's features

Included in the website's sections are stories of the LDS Church's general authorities and news emanating from the Church Office Building.

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).

As genealogy research is one of the hallmarks of Mormon culture, Mormon Times shares news and information relevant to family history enthusiasts.

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.

Mormon Times provides an entry point to a full, searchable edition of the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, courtesy of BYU's Harold B. Lee Library.


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.[67] 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.[68]

Mormon Times (TV series)

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.[69] 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.[70]


The News is currently published daily, in the morning.

Online edition

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. Comments are limited to 200 words per comment, and four comments per story. Staff also moderates to prevent publication of comments that are deemed vulgar, uncivil, or personally attacking.[71]

News staff

The newspaper's editors included the following:

Among those who have served as publisher of the Deseret News were Wendell J. Ashton (1978–85),[78] Wm. James Mortimer (1985-2000),[76] Jim Wall,[79] and Chris Lee.[77]

2010 restructuring

Summer 2010 saw multiple changes both in leadership and structure at the Deseret News. A new Opinion Editor, Paul 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.[80]

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.[56][81]

On November 12, 2010, Ann Cannon, a columnist who had been with the Deseret News for seven years but had been let go[citation needed], first appeared as a columnist in The Salt Lake Tribune.[82]

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:

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.[85]


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  • Ashton, Wendell J., (1950). Voice in the West: Biography of a Pioneer Newspaper, New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce
  • Malmquist, The First Hundred Years, History of The Salt Lake Tribune
  • Woodward, Don C., ed. (1999), Through Our Eyes: 150 Years of History as Seen Through the Eyes of the Writers and Editors of the Deseret News, Salt Lake City: Deseret News Publishing Co. ISBN 1-57345-660-8

External links