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In our opinion: Letter to our readers

Published: Sunday, Dec. 26 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

Dear Readers,

In the summer of 1850, when the first pioneers in Utah were just gaining a foothold in these arid mountain valleys, they made the effort to publish a newspaper. Although the very basics of life were scarce, those pioneers believed that the establishment of their community required a trusted voice to report and comment on current affairs of mutual concern. So began the Deseret News, the oldest continuously operating business of any kind in Utah.

Some things have not changed. From that first edition, printed on a simple hand-operated press, to today's global internet reach, the Deseret News still provides its readers with insight from a values-based perspective. And although the Deseret News is no longer published in newly charted geographic territory, it continues to be at the frontier. Now, however, that frontier includes a digital future as news organizations adapt to the powerful new ways readers seek trusted voices for information and analysis.

In September of this year, the Deseret News unveiled an ambitious plan to expand our reach and influence through innovation. That plan included an integrated newsroom, expanded in-depth coverage and analysis, a national editorial advisory board, an expanded network of contributors and increased digital innovation. As 2010 draws to a close, this is our report to you about how this plan is unfolding.

We have successfully integrated our newsroom with our sister media company, KSL. That integration makes the Deseret News part of the largest newsroom in the market. That newsroom offers you expert print, broadcast and online journalism when, where and how you want it. Through this integration, you may have seen or heard familiar Deseret News reporters on KSL. Similarly, you may have noticed KSL bylines on our printed pages. This integration gives the Deseret News the capacity for the most rapid and widespread coverage of breaking news in our 160-year history.

In addition to excellence in providing breaking news, we have increased our in-depth coverage and analysis of issues that matter to you. You may have appreciated, for example, how we have explored the impact that pornography abuse has on women or our in-depth look at the reconciliation of interned Japanese Americans and the role played by U.S. servicemen in the rebuilding of post-war Japan. We will continue to expand this kind of insight and analysis from the perspective we share with you, our readers.

In order to bring you insight from some of the most thoughtful minds in the country, we have created a national Editorial Advisory Board that includes, among others, former statesmen, prominent community and business leaders and world-renowned scholars. In the past four months you have read their inspiring profiles and gleaned from their insights on education, personal responsibility and the role of faith in the community. This board will continue to guide our editorial voice on issues that affect our communities and our country. Among them are our six areas of editorial emphasis: the Family, Faith in the Community, Financial Responsibility, Excellence in Education, Care for the Poor and Values in the Media.

We have also launched a rapidly growing network of external contributors through an innovative sister organization called Deseret Connect. This unique technology provides a collection of new writers and experts powerful online tools to submit articles that can be edited and published in the Deseret News. Through this network you are already receiving unique content in the Deseret News and Mormon Times from over 200 accomplished writers from 28 states and 8 countries. This includes voices such as Linda and Richard Eyre, Chad Lewis and Vai Sikahema.

We continue to expand our online reach and influence. Deseretnews.com attracts more online traffic than any newspaper site in our market, serving more than 2 million unique viewers to nearly 30 million page views each month. We are pleased to provide readers a vibrant digital forum while maintaining the civility that is so important to our community. In coming months you will see several exciting new tools and resources that will enhance your online and mobile use of our expanding content.

We are creating something that is much more than a traditional news organization. We are creating a values-driven media company that embraces cutting-edge technology to offer insight, analysis and ideas from a shared perspective that you will not find anywhere else. We hope that you and your family are benefiting directly from the innovations we have already made and that you will continue to see beneficial improvements in the coming months.

Sincerely,

The Deseret News Leadership Team

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