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Ravell Call, Deseret News
Paul Edwards speaks after being appointed as the governor's deputy chief of staff with special responsibility for policy and strategic communications during an event at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016.

SALT LAKE CITY — Paul Edwards, editor and publisher of the Deseret News, has stepped down from his position to join the governor’s staff as Gary Herbert gears up for a new term in office.

Herbert announced Thursday that Edwards will become deputy chief of staff with special responsibility for policy and strategic communications.

“He’ll have a significant role in our senior staff administration helping us develop policy, but most importantly, making sure that what we do is communicated accurately with the public and with the press, making sure our communications are effective and our message is out there for all to see and understand,” Herbert said.

Edwards said one thing to take from this week's election is that people are frustrated with one-size-fits-all solutions to problems.

“As they look at where the laboratories of democracy are working best, they have this wonderful example of the state of Utah under the guidance of Gov. Herbert,” he said.

Edwards added that once he began talking with the governor about the position, the Deseret News “took this conflict of interest very seriously” and recused him from all coverage related to the office over the past month.

Herbert also announced Thursday that Tani Downing will be executive director of the Department of Administrative Services, and Jaceson Maughan will be the commissioner of the Utah Labor Commission. Jill Remington Love was named as the new Arts and Heritage Department director.

Edwards has served as editor of the Desert News since his appointment in December 2011, and soon added the publisher’s responsibility. During his tenure he extended the reach of the Deseret News far beyond Utah, growing readership and building comprehensive coverage not just in traditional news beats, but also expertly on matters related to faith and family.

It was an aggressive approach, establishing the American Family Survey, now in its second year, and indepth reports drawing on expert data and the legwork and ingenuity of the reporting staff. His committment to authoritative reporting and expert commentary brought increased attention to the Deseret News both from within the industry, in Utah, and in national forums focused on the nation's most compelling social issues.

Prior to joining the Deseret News, he was executive vice president and provost at Southern Virginia University. He has also served as president of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and vice president for Academic Affairs at the Institute for Humane Studies, also at George Mason.

Edwards previously taught political science at Brigham Young University.