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Year in review: Walden Media founder reflects emphasis on values in media

Published: Thursday, Dec. 29 2011 4:37 p.m. MST

View our top list: Deseret News best of 2011: Values in the media

Editor's note: This week, the Deseret News is highlighting the best work over the last year in each of its six areas of editorial emphasis. Today, reporter Jamshid Ghazi Askar looks back at covering values in the media.

As the reporter who covers values in the media for the Deseret News, I felt a surge of electricity at the chance to sit down with Micheal Flaherty in early October for an interview.

Basically, Flaherty makes movies. He's the president and co-founder of Walden Media, which has produced 34 films with a combined box-office gross of more than $2 billion.

But there is so much more to his story than moviemaking.

During our half-hour together, Flaherty impressed me in many ways — not the least of which were his sincere humbleness about the success of Walden Media and the way he articulated the intersection of his storytelling job with his evangelical Christian faith.

"There's a definite connection (between work and faith)," he told me. "When you read a lot about the creator of the universe, he's pretty creative. But the more that I get familiar with scripture and the more that I get familiar with the lives of the great heroes of our faith, the more I start to understand the elements of what makes a great story."

When I subsequently penned my profile of Flaherty, the article had very little to do with movies. Instead, the piece tells the story of a man whose faith compels him to improve the world he lives in by respectfully instilling timeless values and dynamic storytelling into motion pictures and children's books.

In that context, then, the Flaherty profile is a microcosm of what we do with the values in the media editorial emphasis at the Deseret News. We introduce readers to interesting and influential people who inject positive values and teaching moments into media such as movies, television, books, music, stage productions and smartphone apps.

I can't begin to tell you how thoroughly enthused I am to be covering values in the media at the Deseret News. No longer will our media coverage be limited to two-dimensional content reviews or plot synopses. Moving forward, we promise to not only arm readers with the information they need to be an informed consumer of media, but also share feel-good stories that inspire and ennoble.

Stories like Micheal Flaherty's.

email: jaskar@desnews.com

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