Former Deseret News reporter Dale Van Atta will now apparently inherit Jack Anderson's "Washington Merry Go Round" column all to himself.

Van Atta and Joseph Spear had both been senior partners with Anderson, and in recent years had taken turns sharing Anderson's byline with him. They were expected to share the column when Anderson retired.But Spear left the column this week to write his own column for the Newspaper Enterprise Association.

Van Atta told the Deseret News that means his byline will always now appear with Anderson's, until Anderson retires. When that happens, Van Atta is heir apparent to the column.

Van Atta has been following in Anderson's footsteps for years. Van Atta and Anderson both have Utah roots, both at one time wrote for the Deseret News and both served long apprenticeships working for the "Washington Merry Go Round" column.

Anderson started his journalism career as a 12-year-old editor of a Boy Scout page in the Deseret News in 1937. After working for other local papers including the Murray Eagle and Salt Lake Tribune, Anderson again worked for the Deseret News in 1945 as its war correspondent in the India-Burma-China theater.

After World War II, Anderson became an assistant to Drew Pearson - who was then the writer of "Washington Merry Go Round" - and later took it over.

Van Atta attended Brigham Young University, where he was editor of the BYU Daily Universe. After graduation, he worked at the Deseret News in the late 1970s. He was a member of the newspaper's "pinpoint" team, which won numerous awards for investigative stories. He then left to work for Anderson.