SALT LAKE CITY — Today we are introducing a new Editorial Advisory Board. The advisory board provides a collection of thought leaders from here in Utah and around the country. They include faculty from great universities, a former senator, prominent political advisers, community activists, educators and philanthropists. They are an impressive group of thoughtful, intelligent and purpose-driven individuals. And they reflect a commitment to the continued reach and impact of the Deseret News.
But to understand the purpose of our Editorial Advisory Board, you must also understand the direction of the newspaper itself. At the Deseret News our heritage grows out of our values. As a Deseret Media company, we share a mission to become trusted voices of light and knowledge by embracing values that include:
Aligning our organization to honor the principles espoused by our ownership
Pursuing excellence through innovation and quality
Championing virtues, including integrity, civility, morality and respect for all people
Improving lives through lifting, inspiring and helping others find happiness
At the Deseret News, we should be comfortable with and directed by these values. They are values shared by our readership, our leadership team and our ownership. They also help us connect to good people from diverse cultural, religious and geographic backgrounds. From these values will emerge a series of key topics and issues that we will emphasize. Today we introduce six areas of focus:
Excellence in Education
Care for the Needy
Values in the Media
Faith in the Community
As you review our Editorial Advisory Board, you will see a group of impressive individuals whose pursuit of excellence allows them to speak uniquely to these issues. We will draw on their thought leadership to help provide insight and story development for the Deseret News. In doing so, we seek to expand our efforts to provide a compelling experience to our readers on topics and issues they care about and value.
The following team will work closely with Deseret News Editor Joseph A. Cannon and Opinion Editor Paul Edwards:
Pamela Atkinson has spent decades caring about homeless and low-income people and other vulnerable groups in the community. The Utah State Legislature and taxpayer donations fund the Pamela Atkinson Homeless Trust Fund, which provides money to various agencies as they help the homeless become self-sufficient. In 2007, her church, First Presbyterian Church of Salt Lake City, dedicated Pamela's Closet, which gathers donations of everyday items to be used in Atkinson's humanitarian work to the homeless.
Clayton M. Christensen
Clayton M. Christensen, a Harvard Business School professor, is consistently ranked as one of the world's leading thinkers on innovation. His New York Times best-seller "The Innovator's Dilemma" is perhaps the leading book on innovation in business. He has also written influential books on health care and education. Christensen is a graduate of BYU, Oxford University and Harvard and is a former Area Seventy for the LDS Church.
Sheri L. Dew
Sheri L. Dew is president and CEO of Deseret Book — the first woman to hold that position. She wrote the biographies of two LDS Church presidents, Gordon B. Hinckley and Ezra Taft Benson, and was second counselor in the LDS Relief Society from 1997 to 2002. In 2003, the White House appointed her as a member of the U.S. delegation to the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations.
Robert P. George
Robert P. George, professor of jurisprudence and politics at Princeton University, is a Roman Catholic who has been called America's "most influential Christian conservative intellectual" by New York Times Magazine. He is director of Princeton's James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions and was a member of the President's Council on Bioethics. He is also chairman of the board of the National Organization for Marriage, a nonprofit organization that opposes the legalization of same-sex marriages.
Matthew S. Holland
Matthew S. Holland, president of Utah Valley University in Orem since 2009, is a former associate professor of political science at BYU. He earned master's and doctoral degrees from Duke University. He was a fellow in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University in 2005-06 and the Raoul Wallenberg Scholar at Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1991. He has taught such courses as American Heritage, Modern Political Philosophy and Public Ethics.
Firoz "King" Husein
Firoz "King" Husein is chairman and CEO of Span Construction and Engineering Inc., in Madera, Calif. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Bombay in India and a master's degree in civil engineering from BYU. Span Construction has built large structures from big box stores to automotive and athletic facilities. A convert to the LDS Church in 1977, he is currently bishop of the Monterey (Calif.) Ward.
Jane Clayson Johnson
Jane Clayson Johnson was hired after graduating from BYU as a full-time reporter at KSL-TV, where she won a regional Emmy and the Edward R. Murrow Award. In 1996, she moved to Los Angeles to work for ABC, and she covered Bob Dole's presidential campaign and the O.J. Simpson trial. From 1999 to 2002, she anchored CBS' "The Early Show." She decided to leave her broadcast career to focus on raising her family, which she discussed in her book "I Am a Mother."
Jeffrey Max Jones, a native of Chihuahua, Mexico, is a graduate of BYU and has been the highest-ranking LDS member in the Mexican government. He served in the Chamber of Deputies 1997-2000 and then was elected a national senator to represent Chihuahua from 2000 to 2006. He then was undersecretary of Agribusiness Development until 2009, focusing on prospective planning, domestic and international market development and agricultural finance. He is now pursuing writing and consulting.
Mary McConnell, curriculum consultant to Juan Diego Catholic High School in Draper, graduated from Michigan State University in 1977 and attended Oxford University on a Rhodes scholarship. She was chief speechwriter for Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and director of public issues for FMC Corp. in Chicago. While taking time out to spend more time with her children, she became active in the Salt Lake City Christian home schooling organization, then made a career shift into teaching.
Michael W. McConnell
Michael W. McConnell is a professor at Stanford Law School and faculty director of the Stanford Constitutional Law Center. Before joining Stanford in 2009, he was a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver. He also was a law professor at the University of Utah and University of Chicago, where he specialized in constitutional law. He has written on many constitutional aspects but is best known for his work on freedom of religion.
Gordon H. Smith
Gordon H. Smith, former Republican senator from Oregon, has been president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters since 2009. A graduate of BYU and Southwestern School of Law in Los Angeles, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996, serving two terms. Among his committee assignments were chairman of the Special Committee on Aging and ranking member of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on International Trade and Global Competitiveness.
Hannah Clayson Smith is a legal counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, based in Washington, D.C. A graduate of Princeton University and the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU, she has clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. She joined the Becket Fund in 2007 and serves as a member of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society International Board and as reunions chair for her Princeton alumni class.
Catherine M. Stokes
Catherine M. Stokes, who retired in 2006 as a deputy director for the Illinois Department of Health, is a graduate of DePaul University in Chicago. She served as vice chairman on the board of trustees of the Inner City Youth Charitable Foundation in Chicago 1990-2006. Since moving to Utah, she is serving on the board of the Utah AIDS Foundation and is now membership chair of the Utah Chapter of the African-American Genealogy & Historical Society.
— Deseret News Leadership Team