After 173 years, Deseret News still going strong

Jun 15, 2023, 8:00 PM | Updated: 8:01 pm

The presses begin rolling as the last daily edition of the Deseret News is printed at the MediaOne ...

The presses begin rolling as the last daily edition of the Deseret News is printed at the MediaOne building in West Valley City on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. The Deseret News celebrated its 173rd anniversary on Thursday, June 15, 2023. Photo credit: Scott G. Winterton.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Deseret News has a long history in the state of Utah. On Thursday, the media outlet celebrated its 173rd anniversary.

Doug Wilks, executive editor of the Deseret News, tells KSL NewsRadio the paper is still going strong.

“The Deseret News brand stands for unpeaceable journalism, centered on the issues most core of the human heart,” he said. “Including faith and family.”

With the rights afforded to us in the Constitution, Wilks says the paper provides an anchor for all those around.

“So, we’re very much focused on principles,” Wilks said. “…. I mean, the principle is the thing. And you try not to sway to the left or to the right or blow in the wind. You want to have a foundation, and that’s what we think the Deseret News provides a strong foundation.”

Deseret News or the Daily Miracle

Boyd Matheson mentioned the paper was referred to as the ‘Daily Miracle’ back in the day when it was printed daily. It included all the stories being written, editing completed and the finished product delivered to a doorstep by a 12-year-old.

“We used to joke that you’d spend a million dollars getting it there,” Wilks said. “And that 12-year-old would throw it on the roof. But yeah, we don’t have to deal with that anymore.”

However, Wilks says that it still feels like that “Daily Miracle” today.

“Because you’re trying to do strong, important content every day,” he said. 

Wilks says there is one question asked in the newsroom every day that helps the Deseret News do its job.

“Is this story true?” he asked. “Do we have it exactly right? And can you say you have a story exactly, right? Well, it’s called the first draft of history for a reason, but you better not be wrong?”

The correct mindset for news

Matheson asked, “What is the right mindset for news?”

“Well as a consumer, I think you need to look at impact and context,” Wilks said. “…. You know there’s news, there’s impact, there’s context and there’s a human dimension. And you need to see those things in a news story.”

In today’s day and age, Matheson mentions, the goal is to be the first to report a story or get as many clicks as possible before anyone else has the story posted.

He asked, “How do you develop the discipline of restraint in reporting?”

“We want to have an educated and informed citizenry,” Wilks said. “So that requires restraint when you don’t know quite what the story is or what you’re talking about.”

In the future, Wilks says the Deseret News will be focused on civility.

“We don’t want to tear down, we want to build up,” he said. “If we’re shining light on something difficult, we want there to be something at the end of that conversation. We want to build something. And we’re working very hard with the community, very diligently with the community to do that.”

Listen to the entire segment.


Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app. 

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After 173 years, Deseret News still going strong