SALT LAKE CITY — Southern Virginia University provost Paul Edwards will become the new editorial page editor of the Deseret News on Sept. 1, newspaper executives announced Monday.

Edwards will serve as an editorial contributor addressing a national audience and will work with editor Joseph Cannon and the newspaper's leadership team.

"For over a decade, Paul has helped to sharpen the focus and strategy of values-based organizations, including research centers, think tanks and universities," said Clark Gilbert, president and chief executive officer of the Deseret News. "We believe his voice and perspective will help us strengthen our mission and connect to the changing media needs of our audience today."

Edwards has been serving as executive vice president and provost at SVU, where he led national and regional accreditation efforts.

"Even while we address the changing economic realities facing newspapers today, the Deseret News recognizes the insight and perspectives that contributors with a national reputation such as Paul can provide our readers," Cannon said. "We are confident that Paul's background and capabilities will be instrumental in the future growth of the Deseret News."

Edwards also served as president of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a market-oriented research, education and outreach think tank that connects academic learning and real-world practice.

Prior to his George Mason position, Edwards taught political science at Brigham Young University. He holds a bachelor's degree in history from BYU and a doctorate and juris doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley.

A press release issued by the paper said the addition of Edwards reflects the newspaper's commitment to strategically invest in resources that can provide the insight into today's issues that readers are seeking.

Launched in 1850, the Deseret News is Utah's oldest continually published newspaper.