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Deseret News makes pitch to subscribers of Mormon Ensign magazine

First Published      Last Updated Jan 29 2014 06:05 pm

The LDS Church-owned Deseret News has a new marketing tactic: Wrap the newspaper's "national edition" in the faith's official monthly magazine, the Ensign.

Church spokesman Cody Craynor confirmed Wednesday that a copy of the Deseret News' national edition — which includes several pages of value-laden news and analysis as well as the LDS Church News — was packaged with the February Ensign mailed to subscribers in the United States and Canada.

The Utah-based newspaper also invited recipients to subscribe to its hybrid publication at $30 per year.

"While this weekly periodical is not an official publication of the church," an accompanying letter says, "it promotes wholesome values and includes perspectives that are harmonious with the gospel."

The pitch to Ensign readers is a "one-time mailing that does not count toward circulation," News' Editor Paul Edwards writes in an email. It "represents an opportunity for current Ensign subscribers to have a thoughtful source of news and analysis designed for faith- and family-oriented audiences."

The Ensign staff has been "looking for ways to encourage members of the LDS Church to stay well informed and engaged about current events," a News' explainer says on the national edition's website.

Not intended to be a comprehensive news source, the News' national edition instead focuses, the explainer says, on "subjects relating to family, faith, care for the poor, financial responsibility, education and culture."

The News' "Frequently Asked Questions" site even anticipates criticism. It provides an email address for people who believe the paper's national edition should not have been packaged with the Ensign — and want to complain.

There also is this FAQ: "I take another paper (SL Tribune, [Logan] Herald Journal, USA Today, etc.), should I unsubscribe from that and get the Deseret News national edition?"

"No," the explainer says. "The Deseret News national edition, including Church News, is a great addition to any publications you are currently receiving."

Peggy Fletcher Stack