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What the world can learn from Utah and the Deseret News’ vision for the future

We are a voice from outside the beltway and inside the coasts — right in the heart and soul of the nation

The pioneering spirit runs deep in the soul of the Deseret News. While many news organizations have downsized, rightsized or gone by the wayside in the past decade, the Deseret News has been building and preparing for what would come next. That “next” is now, and the tomorrow of bold, noble and independent journalism, in-depth reporting and informed opinion is starting today.

The Deseret News has announced that beginning in January 2021 it will continue to extend its national reach with a rapidly expanding digital presence, a monthly print magazine and a robust weekend print edition.

I would note that we’ve been on this path for some time. Only 25% of current subscribers receive a daily print newspaper. Most receive the current version of our National weekend edition, which will continue while being expanded. Our digital platform, Deseret.com, has 500 times more readers than our current daily print subscribers.

Deseret News has quietly been building a national brand. Currently, 75% of our readers are outside the state of Utah. With more than 7 million unique users on our digital site each month — which doesn’t even include our mobile app, partners, social media engagement, Apple News, MSN or KSL News Radio. We are just beginning.

Our goals as an organization are audacious and we are stepping forward with a unique perspective. We embrace founding principles as the best way to heal the country, foster freedom, promote justice and erase inequality. We are bringing the nation’s thought leaders to our readers and convening critical conversations with voices from across the political spectrum.

We are a voice from outside the beltway and inside the coasts — right in the heart and soul of the nation. National political and business leaders are missing a smart, principled voice to shed light on the minds of thoughtful, conservative middle Americans. From our unique vantage point, we will provide a window into the principles, policies and values that create thriving communities. The Deseret News embraces our unique point of view from Utah, which is increasingly being seen as a crossroad to the world.

Gordon B. Hinckley, 15th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spoke regarding the history of the vision of Utah going from a crossroad in the wilderness to the crossroads of the West.

President Hinckley recounted the monumental moment when early pioneer leaders climbed a little knoll, now called Ensign Peak, surveyed the land and proclaimed a big vision for the future. He suggested that had a reporter heard the group on that July morning in 1847, he or she would have scoffed at the foolish naivete of the ragtag group of leaders and ridiculousness of the goal they declared.

“They did not look like statesmen with great dreams,” he said. “They did not look like rulers poring over maps and planning an empire. They were exiles, driven from their fair city on the Mississippi into this desert region of the West.”

President Hinckley continued: “I marvel at the foresight of that little group. It was both audacious and bold. It was almost unbelievable. Here they were, almost a thousand miles from the nearest settlement to the east and almost 800 miles from the Pacific Coast. They were in an untried climate. … They had never raised a crop here. They had never experienced a winter. They had not built a structure of any kind. These prophets, dressed in old, travel-worn clothes, standing in boots they had worn for more than a thousand miles from Nauvoo to this valley, spoke of a millennial vision. … They came down from the peak that day and went to work to bring reality to their dream.”

The Deseret News has not only chronicled that quest for the crossroads, it has contributed to the realization of it. And now the state is poised to be the crossroad of the world.

The skeptics snicker at that suggestion, just as they did at the driving of the golden spike connecting the nation by rail, when the Olympics came to Utah in 2002, when tech companies came to the state and when the new international airport opened.

Today, similar cynics and skeptics will challenge a vision of the Deseret News as a national and international voice for principled, illuminating news. The reality is Utah has been quietly working, patiently paving and firmly forming the foundation of this crossroads for years.

The Deseret News has been doing the hard work and heavy lifting preparing for a new day of news and what’s next for local and national media organizations. For the Deseret News and its readers, next is now and tomorrow starts today.