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Good evening. If it's Monday it must be my turn to write an editor's column.

This column is a good opportunity to offer a little backyard, over-the-fence, neighborly conversation about our newspaper. We need to get to know each other better.After all, we ought to be almost like family to you. Our newspaper comes bouncing onto your porch or driveway every day (hopefully it doesn't come through a window, onto the roof or into a mud puddle). Then it gets hauled right into your home, into your living room, or kitchen or family room and maybe even (gulp) into your bathroom. So we really are quite intimate acquaintances.

We like the close relationship. We're glad you accept our writers, columnists and comic strips into your home each day. And we want you to get to know us even better. We want to be a friendly, interesting part of your evening experience.

Pardon me for getting a little personal, but the truth is we hope you'll want to snuggle up with us in front of the fireplace in the winter and take us out on the back patio in the summer.

We're trying hard to make our newspaper an enjoyable evening companion. We're trying to be "reader friendly" the latest catch phrase of the newspaper industry.

Maybe you've noticed some of our attempts to make the Deseret News quicker and easier to use. We're writing shorter stories, using more boxes and briefs to highlight important information, and making our layout simple and consistent so that similar stories are packaged together, and photos and stories match up.

We'll be doing more and more of this. We realize newspaper readers are scanners. You don't want to read every word of every story. So you dart through the paper, looking at headlines for the nuggets you want to read more thoroughly.

We're working for more consistency. We want you to find the familiar features you like in the same place every day. And we'll try to label pages and packages so you can see at a glance whether you want to spend more time with them.

The news business is extremely competitive, and we know that if we don't adapt to busy, modern lifestyles we'll be left behind. But we hope you'll realize that your daily newspaper is still a tremendous bargain.

We offer, every day, a very large and interesting product far more than the brief headlines you get on TV or radio. Count 'em up and you'll see we have some 50 different columnists and specialists writing about everything imaginable chess, finance, advice to the lovelorn, autos, television, movies, literature, computers, politics, real estate, medicine, business, fashion, marriage, stocks, agriculture, the environment and everything else. Even in specific areas like business and sports, we have super-specialist experts who write about even more exclusive topics.

We offer so much more every day of the year than any television or radio newscast that we put 'em to shame. And sometimes that's part of our problem. We can actually be a little intimidating. We get fat and bulky, on Sundays often running 100 pages or more plus inserts and magazines.

But if you use the newspaper right, it can help you save money, be well-informed and cope with every facet of life. After all, life itself in these modern times is plenty complicated. And, boy, how fast everything changes. A good newspaper, with its wealth of information, can help you keep up with it all, help you make your way through the tricky spots.

So we hope you'll keep bringing our people into your home. We hope you'll continue to laugh with Abigail Van Buren and Miss Manners. We hope you'll keep up with politics with Bob Bernick, education with Twila Van Leer, business with Max Knudson, consumer issues with Carma Wadley, TV with Joe Walker, movies with Chris Hicks, the environment with Joe Bauman.

And the editors will see that these folks remain good guests as you sit down with them every day. We'll remind them what a good guest ought to be friendly, a good conversationalist, humorous, informative and sometimes provocative. But not offensive.