21 editors, publishers in paper's 147 years

Published: Sunday, May 18 1997 12:00 a.m. MDT

The Deseret News has had 21 editors and publishers in its 147-year history.

The first was Dr. Willard Richards (1850-54), who was called on by Brigham Young to start a newspaper in order to keep the Mormon colonists in touch with the outside world.He was followed by Albert Carrington (1854-59, 1863-67). Carrington was most noted for helping Capt. Howard Stansbury explore the Great Salt Lake and for reporting on the pending invasion of Johnston's Army.

Elias Smith (1859-63) served between Carrington's two terms.

One of the more influential editors was George Q. Cannon (1867-73, 1877-79). He was editor when the newspaper went daily and was counselor to three LDS Church presidents. David O. Calder (1873-77) served between Cannon's two stays.

Another influential editor was Charles W. Penrose (1880-92, 1899-1907). He took over the paper at a time when the territory was divided into two camps - Mormon and anti-Mormon. When Penrose was called to other duties, John Nicholson and George C. Lambert served as editor at different times.

They were followed by J.M. Sjodahl (1898-99, 1907-14), E. LeRoy Bourne (1914-17), Harold Goff (1922-28), Alexander Buchanan (1928) and John Q. Cannon (1892-98, 1919-22, 1928-31).

Joseph J. Cannon (1931-34) guided the newspaper through the Great Depression; James A. Langton (1934-43) and David A. Robinson (1943-46) were editors through World War II.

Mark E. Petersen (1946-52) started as a cub reporter at $90 a month and worked his way to editor. Along the way he was recognized as one of the top newsmen in the West.

O. Preston Robinson (1952-64) was a teacher. E. Earl Hawkes (1964-72) moved from the Hearst newspaper in Boston to take over the reins of the Deseret News.

William B. Smart (1972-86) started as a sports writer and eventually became editor. During this time, Wendell J. Ashton (1978-85) was named publisher of the newspaper.

Wm. James Mortimer (1985-), started as an assistant business editor at the Deseret News, then went off to manage the Deseret News Press and the Deseret Book Co. before returning to take over editor/publisher duties at the Deseret News.

The latest addition is John Hughes (1997-), a Pulitzer Prize-winning editor for the Christian Science Monitor. At the time of the appointment, he was teaching at Brigham Young University. He took over as editor last January.

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