A1 is the Deseret News showcase page. A1 is the front page, the page where reporters love to see their bylines, the first page you see when you pick up the newspaper.

It's the place you look for the top news of the day, the stories of highest interest and those of most importance to your life.Deseret News editors put a great deal of effort into deciding what goes on A1. Those decisions are made early each morning (xcept on weekends) while most Utahns are just waking up.

Assistant Managing Editor Don Woodward calls together key editors at 6:30 a.m. to talk about the day's top stories and determine where stories will be played.

All decisions are subject to change, of course, as the day progresses and new stories break across the country and here in Utah.

A1 is, obviously, not the only important page in the paper. A newspaper is an entire package, with many elements, and you daily find all sorts great features, sports, puzzles, classified ads, columns, editorials, letters, photos, comics, and advertisements on the inside pages. You may enjoy some of those inside page features and columns more than the harder news on A1.

But the front page still remains the key news page of the paper, the showcase for breaking news and stories "enterprised" (or dug up) by reporters.

You might (or might not) have noticed that the front page of your Deseret News has changed quite a bit in the last year or two. The biggest change is the play that local news now routinely gets on A1.

It used to be that very few local stories were placed on A1, except for blockbusters and traditional things like election and legislative coverage and LDS General Conference.

Now, on a day-to-day basis, the lead story on A1 is as likely as not to be local, and usually two or three of the five to six stories on the page are local.

We strongly believe that local news is as important as the national and international news - and it should be displayed accordingly. We like to think of ourselves as the "local news" newspaper in Utah and our track record shows that we are. We continue to win the lion's share of local news awards in journalism contests.

That's not to say that we are stressing local news at the expense of world and national events. The top world and national stories still make A1 and the others of lesser importance are placed inside. We also make a concerted effort to localize national stories so that when Congress passes a bill or the U.S. Supreme Court issues a decision, our stories will tell the effect on you here in Utah.

We view ourselves not as a national newspaper like the New York Times, Washington Post or Los Angeles Times. We want to position the Deseret News as a metropolitan/community newspaper, bringing the entire world to your doorstep, but with a special focus on the news of Utah and your own community and how it affects you.

The Deseret News is not alone in this emphasis. Most papers across the country, including many much larger than the News, put mostly local stories on A1. Local news is a last bastion of strength in which newspapers excel far above all other media. The amount of local coverage you get from TV or radio is paltry by comparison.

So tomorrow, while you're probably still sleeping, City Editor Rick Hall and World and National Editor Jon Ringwood will arrive at work about 5 a.m. and begin going through dozens of stories in computer directories. By 6:30, they'll be ready to meet with Woodward and recommend the top stories of the day. Together, they'll determine the play of the news, and you can bet they'll select the best stories for A1.

That early morning meeting will begin a hectic and complex process that will culminate with a fresh newspaper, full of that day's news, being plopped on your doorstep early in the evening.

We hope you'll take our newspaper into your home or to your back porch and sit down with it - and enjoy an evening experience with the Deseret News.