By Anne Landman on September 24, 2010

Businessmen runningJournalists working for Utah's oldest continuously-published daily newspaper, the Deseret News, are leaving the paper in a dispute over the new direction in the paper's journalism. The problem started when the paper published a front-page story written entirely by Michael Purdy, the head of the LDS Church's public relations department. The paper did not identify the "reporter" as a member of the Church's public affairs department. Joel Campbell, who blogs about Mormon media for the Deseret News and is an active Mormon, is one of those leaving the paper. He says printing the news story was an "anathema to journalism" and presents an ethical conflict. The newspaper also recently laid off 85 members of its staff, and emailed Campbell asking him not to blog about it. Instead, the paper put out a news release that buried information about the layoffs six or seven sentences deep. Campbell complained that the paper was trying to control the message about it, and their actions were offensive to those getting laid off. The Deseret News is owned by a subsidiary of a for-profit holding company owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon or LDS Church.

Comments

I salute the journalists who, in a time of economic uncertainty, are willing to take such a bold step in response to their conscience. The term heroes comes to mind.

But then, is the Deseret News a real newspaper? Or a PR organ for the LDS faith? If the latter, they may as well sack all the staff reporters and have it run from the PR unit of the LDS church. They could have free foreign news provided by the PR people for the LDS Church who work all over the world.

As a UK-based journalist, I don't think the LDS Church and Deseret News have been very honest in how they dealt with this. Don't Mormons believe in all their dealings? At least, that's what I thought...

Hmm..i felt that newspaper should be pro to any faith as it is a freedom of speech. Deseret News which is owned by LDS church will definitely be bias to their own faith.