Utah's This People Magazine is changing from a "hero worship" format to one that will give its Latter-day-Saint audience something it can't find elsewhere, the magazine's editor said Thursday.
Former Deseret News editor William B. Smart, who is now editor of This People, told a group of Brigham Young University journalism students that the troubled magazine will succeed "based on the principle that serious journalism will sell."It's easy to build circulation by giving people what they want," Smart said, but it's also important to provide readers with information they need. "People will read good writing. I think quality can succeed whether it's in newspapers or magazines."
Smart took the reins at This People after retiring from the Deseret News. The magazine was sold about one year ago, and the new owner hopes Smart can change the publication from one that focuses on profiles of well-known members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to one that addresses important issues.
Smart has already begun that effort with recent issues that have focused on questions like whether Mormons make good neighbors and where blacks stand in the church 10 years after they were given the priesthood.
Smart said he thinks Utahns were embarrassed by This People in the past and they didn't buy it. "What we've done is set out to build an entirely different magazine."
The strategy seems to be working, because the quarterly magazine is ahead of its subscription and advertising projections. Smart hopes This People will eventually be published about nine times a year.