Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Deseret News Names Non-Mormon Editor

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Deseret News Names Non-Mormon Editor

Article excerpt

JOHN HUGHES, FORMER editor of the Christian Science Monitor and a Pulitzer Prize-winner, has been named the first non-Mormon editor of the 146-year-Deseret News.

His appointment is expected to bring changes to the Salt Lake City-based newspaper that will broaden its appeal to readers, according to interviews with Hughes and marketing director Stephen G. Handy.

Under a restructuring of the News' management team, it was announced, Wm. James Mortimer will continue as president and publisher while Hughes will run the editorial side.

Both will report separately to the board of directors of the paper, which is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints.

Hughes, 66, a former Nieman Fellow and past president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, will assume his new position Jan. 1, leaving Brigham Young University, a Mormon school, where he is a professor of journalism.

In an interview, Hughes, a Christian Scientist, said he was offered the job after serving as a consultant to the Deseret News earlier this year.

He indicated the News will aim for a stronger competitive stance against the larger Salt Lake Tribune with which the News has a joint operating agreement for their business sides.

The News' circulation, which has been declining, is 63,000 daily and 69,000 Sunday, compared to 129,000 and 163,000 for the Tribune.

Hughes added, however, that, "I'm going to look more at what we do than worry about the competition. The News is a good paper that can be better. I believe that a church-owned newspaper can have as broad an appeal as a non-church paper, and I have experience in that area"

The British-born Hughes, who also was an assistant secretary of state in the administration of President Reagan and director of Voice of America, said that before accepting the editorship, the board agreed to certain conditions he requested.

"One of them was that I would be able to carry out my duties without fear or favor," he said.

"The Deseret News is fortunate to have a man of John Hughes' caliber become editor," said Mortimer.

"I am looking forward to working with him."

Board chairman L. …

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