Mormon News, April 21–25

In the News

Pulitzer-prize winning biographer Gregory White Smith passed away on April 10. Smith wrote with his husband, Steven Naifeh, and both won the Pulitzer for their 1990 biography of Jackson Pollock. They were also Mormon Newsknown in Mormon circles for their 1988 account of the Mark Hofmann bombings, The Mormon Murders. Although not always as well received by those familiar with the bombings as other books, The Mormon Murders was well regarded for its lively retelling. It unfolding at a novel’s pace and became a bestseller. Smith died of a rare brain tumor.

The United States Justice Department is looking closely at a proposed deal between the LDS church-owned Deseret News and the Digital First Media-owned Salt Lake Tribune. The deal revolves around the long-standing Joint Operating Agreement (JOA), started in 1952 between the News and the Tribune, which allows the papers to share the costs of printing and distribution. Under the new deal, however, the Deseret News would collect 70% of the revenue created between the two papers in exchange for an upfront cash payment to the owners of the Tribune. Critics, including fomer Tribune journalists, complain that the arrangement threatens the existence of the Tribune in exchange for lining the pockets of the owners. The Salt Lake Tribune remains perhaps the most important independent agency reporting on the activities of the LDS church, and Utahns fear that the demise of the Tribune would create an environment where the only major newspaper reporting on the Mormon church is also owned by the church.

On the Blogs

Chris Smith, blogging at Worlds Without End, cited a presentation by Robert A. Rees that argues there are 120,000 malnourished LDS children. Smith encourages readers to donate to humanitarian causes that can help these children and quotes Rees in arguing that complacency can come easily when we believe that Mormons take care of their own, but that is not always the case.

News updates by John Hatch, acquisitions editor