Around the newsroom we enjoy kidding Deseret News Business Editor Max Knudson about his brief stint working for a tabloid scandal sheet frequently found near supermarket check-out lines.

It's true.The usually conservative Knudson's resume includes three months as a staff reporter at the National Enquirer.

He left a job at Salt Lake City's other daily newspaper to take what he described as "the quintessential offer you cannot refuse" from the Florida-based publication.

But he soon found out he wasn't Enquirer material.

"Everything had to have an Enquirer angle," explained Knudson. He recalls a story he did on a psychic experience by Susan Ford, daughter of former President Gerald Ford, in which she was told she'd buy her father a golden retriever named "Liberty."

She did. But in his story, Knudson said, he played up the psychic angle big, neglecting to point out that the president earlier had a golden retriever named Liberty.

He said the biggest difference between working for the Enquirer and the Deseret News is that now he has to tell the truth, which is what he's been doing since being hired as the paper's business editor in March 1979.

"My mission here is very simple: Keep readers informed on what's going on in the business community in Utah," Knudson said. "Carrying it out is more difficult."

Knudson said the business section of the newspaper has gained considerably more respect since his early days as a reporter - when it had a very low priority. "Business writers were considered somehow unclean; that they had sold out to the establishment.

"Now it's difficult to pick up a paper without finding an economic story on the front page. Everyone knows what the budget deficit is. Everybody is an investor to one degree or another."

He said TV news - which has become fierce competition for newspapers - has also changed the face of business coverage. "Before, if it wasn't in the paper, it wasn't news. That's turned around with the speed and technology of television.

"Obviously we can't beat TV to the punch timewise so we must tell the whys and whats and be wary of becoming superficial in this video age."

Knudson, who also worked for Triad America during its Utah heyday, said two decades of rewriting press releases and attending ribbon-cuttings have taken their toll, but he still gets as excited as ever over a good story.

"Newspapers are one of the few places left for people who like to write. In the newspaper business when you write something, you get the credit - your byline. It's your baby. And that's what I do best," he said.

But then, Deseret News readers already know that.