Fourth, the newspaper has launched Deseret Connect, an innovative system to collect writers and editors who will provide high-quality, relevant stories on a regular basis. "The content will be qualified, edited and peer reviewed," said Gilbert. "We have attracted people from across the nation with impeccable credentials and the highest respect of their peers." Deseret Connect will complement journalists working at the Deseret News.
Fifth, the Deseret News has created a cutting edge digital team "that is on par with the most innovative new media companies in the country," said Gilbert.
"What is remarkable about what is happening at the Deseret News is that they are becoming Exhibit A for the future of news in this country," said Clayton M. Christensen, a nationally recognized new media leader and professor at Harvard Business School who recently chose to join the paper's editorial advisory board. "I would expect you will see the Deseret News become the model of growth and innovation for the entire industry."
Gilbert said underlying all these changes is a renewed commitment to the Deseret News' mission and values.
Print readership of the Deseret News grew by 20 percent in 2009, the highest growth rate of any newspaper in the country. Deseretnews.com attracts the most traffic of any online newspaper site in Utah, serving approximately 24 million page views to nearly 2 million unique visitors per month, according to Deseret News' online analytics.
"Our readers have been clear that they want more than information," Gilbert continued. "They crave and deserve insight, context and thought leadership relevant to the events and issues of the day from sources they trust. The values we champion are time-honored concepts that belong to people of goodwill around the world. Our new direction positions us to deliver on the expectations of our current and future readers."
Gilbert said the Deseret News will bring a distinct voice to the marketplace — a voice which is driven by its values. As part of the entire vision, six areas of focus have emerged from these values.
Excellence in education.
Care for the needy.
Values in the media.
Faith in the community.
Deseret News editor Joe Cannon said the changes will take advantage of technology without leaving behind good, old-fashioned newspaper work.
"I believe the new direction we are taking is going to pay rich dividends for our readers and is also going to create a model for the expanded reach and influence of the Deseret News," Cannon said.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Clark Gilbert will be participating in a live Q&A on Twitter at 3 p.m. through the Deseret News account (@DeseretNews). Use the hashtag #DNewsQ to submit questions and follow the discussion.
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