Friday, February 27, 2009

The joke's on you- I don't own a single hat.

Deserted News?...Yes, I'd consider it to be so.

Upon hearing of the recent demoting of two editors at the Deseret News, I was outraged. But I wasn't shocked. Whether rumored or true, I had heard of Joe Cannon's shenanigans to "Mormonize" the paper for a while now. It's understandable. From a business standpoint, it makes sense. Newspapers are dying, so what better way to scramble to safety than to capitalize on a niche market, which just happens to be the dominant culture of Utah? Well, whether or not it is financially better, there is a better way- a way that is, oh I don't know, journalistically responsible?

Here is some math for Joe Cannon: reporting the whole truth = a reputable newspaper. Censoring and irresponsible gatekeeping x bias = not the whole truth = not a reputable newspaper. Does he know this? Does he want the Deseret News to gain a reputation of being a biased, slanted news source?

And then there is the underlying issue that gets my proverbial goat: religious equality. As someone with records in the LDS church (they don't just disappear from inactivity- crazy huh!), I feel that Mormon newspaper-readers want truth just as much as anyone else. Just because they are conservative as a religion doesn't mean that (some) members aren't open-minded. They don't need to be told bedtime stories just because they believe in a certain set of standards and values. The Herald Journal, a drastically smaller, more localized Utah newspaper has the nerve to publish controversial stories. Why? Because it's the truth, and that is their job. And yes, they get the crotchety-est of bible-swinging old people yelling at them for printing stories. But they deal with it. Because they are responsible for relaying truth.

Additionally, a close acquaintance of mine interviewed for a position at the Des News. His resume is solid, he is a great writer, he is intelligent, yet I am inclined to say that he won't hear back from them because he is not LDS and was brave enough to tell them that when he interviewed there. So there you have it, a good, honest, experienced reporter doesn't get hired because of religious differences. Uh, haven't we been trying to avoid this job discrimination thingie for some time now? I know, I know, I sound hyperbolic. And it may seem like I am jumping the gun here. But I'll make you a deal- if he gets offered the job, I will eat my hat. You know, this one.


  1. If your friend doesn't get the job, he'll likely not know the reasons. We hardly ever know more than "You were extremely qualified but someone else was a better fit with us."

    For whatever it's worth, I worked for the DNews for a couple of years back in the '80s when the church was still acting as its editorial board, and I'm not Mormon.

    It's a terrible job market out there.

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  3. It's a terrible job market especially graduating as a journalist. I was listening to NPR the other day and they were interviewing journalism students at a school in Missouri, I believe, and along with the students they had commentary from a man who worked for the Post and was recently laid off. And you know, the comments across the board were similar. Everyone knows it is a dying business but when you have the journalism bug and love what your doing, you could get paid pennies as long as you were satisfied with your job.