One evening a number of years ago, a Deseret News copy editor approached the staff producing the paper’s sports section with a page proof of baseball coverage in her hand and a question on her mind.
“What’s a home run?” she asked, with the sports staffers smiling, waiting for her anticipated punch line.
A joke never came, and they quickly stifled their surprise, realizing she seriously wanted a description of what constitutes a home run. (For those at home keeping score, a home run is when a batter hits a pitched baseball several hundred feet in the air over the outfield fence, scoring one run himself and an additional run for each baserunner.)
As she thanked us and turned to leave, she added: “Don’t you think you should explain that to your readers sometimes — for people like me?”
It’s doubtful the Deseret News sports section — or any other major publication, for that matter — has provided such a simplified glossary for baseball. But maybe it’s time to talk “home runs” for the Deseret News editorial pages.
As a print publication and online entity, the Deseret News offers news, analysis and commentary flowing from six areas of editorial emphasis that resonate with a large local, national and international audience. Those six core areas are: the family, faith in the community, excellence in education, financial responsibility, care for the poor and values in the media.
Whether in print or online, the Deseret News editorial voices look to regularly reflect those same six areas of emphasis.
The Deseret News editorial page strives to be a dignified moral voice to people of faith and conscience throughout the world. Through careful analysis and thoughtful commentary, it seeks to dispel ignorance, enabling readers to make a positive difference in their families and communities.
Although neutral on matters of partisan politics, it boldly advocates for the free exercise of religion as an essential liberty, the traditional family as the fundamental unit of society, moral agency as an indispensable condition for responsible citizenship and care for the underprivileged in their honorable self-betterment as a duty for all individuals. And it promotes the principles of liberty espoused in the United States.
While the editorial page is a place for its own opinion and perspective, the Deseret News regularly shares thoughtful insight from individuals who augment our effort to be a dignified moral voice to people of conscience throughout the world. Our columnists address current affairs that affect readers and bring expertise and analysis. We value those moral voices that consider other perspectives, avoid polarization and attempt to persuade with reason and analysis.
Focusing first on the print product, the Deseret News’ editorial page is published daily. On Mondays and Saturdays, it stands alone, while on Tuesdays through Fridays, it is accompanied by a facing “op-ed” page — “op-ed” short for “opposite the editorial page.” Sundays feature expanded commentary in the multi-page “Voices” section.
Nearly all the editorial elements found on the printed pages can be found online at www.deseretnews.com/opinion.
Following is a brief summary of the Deseret News’ common editorial-page components:
EDITORIALS: Also known as “house editorials” or “unsigned editorials,” these writings represent the Deseret News’ collective voice and tone — celebrating successes, pointing out needs for improvement, providing analysis and perspective, and calling for action or caution. A small handful of writers write on behalf of the Deseret News.
“WHAT OTHERS SAY”: Published in print and usually underneath the “house” or “unsigned” editorials Tuesdays through Saturdays, these provide a glance of editorial commentary from other major newspapers. Due to contractual limitations, these summaries are not available online.
“READERS’ FORUM”: Simply put, this constitutes letters to the editor, a staple of editorial pages and a sampling of public expression. With space a premium and multiple expressions our intent, brevity in writing is a bonus. Guidelines for submitting letters are at the end of each Readers’ Forum.
“MY VIEW”: Whether written in response to an invitation from the Deseret News or composed and submitted independently, the “My View” pieces — which generally run Sundays and Tuesdays through Fridays — provide commentary and insight from public figures and the public in general, in a longer-than-a-letter-to-the-editor format. Guidelines are also found at the end of the daily Readers’ Forum.
EDITORIAL CARTOONS: Another mainstay of editorial pages, with the Deseret News selecting the work of a collection of nationally syndicated editorial cartoonists. What may take hundreds of words to express in writing sometimes can be more easily expressed quickly and effectively in a drawing — sometimes with humor, sometimes with pointedness, with wit, with wisdom, in tribute or in tears.
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OP-ED COLUMNS: The Deseret News draws from a host of local and national contributors — current or former members of its own staff, some syndicated columnists and others with valuable expertise or perspectives from their service or profession. Their views and expression are their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the Deseret News or the institutions they represent.
By “touching all the bases” of the fundamental elements of the editorial pages, readers can understand the purposes of the various pieces as well as the difference in the multiple voices.