Deseret News Service, which has focused a good share of its content on faith and family values issues, now is expanding that effort by syndicating the material to other publishers.
The first such deal, announced this morning, is with GateHouse Media, which publishes 78 small and midsize dailies and claims 12 million unique visitors per month to its websites.
“Others are in the pilot stage,” Matt Sanders, who is directing the licensing effort, told Poynter by phone. “We will be announcing other relationships as the year goes on.”
Deseret shifted to an aggressive digital expansion strategy several years ago under CEO Clark Gilbert. Part of that initiative has been to re-orient enterprise coverage to faith, family and related matters and offer that in several platforms available to a Mormon audience worldwide. (Deseret, based in Salt Lake City, is owned by the Church of the Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
Aside from marking another step in Deseret’s business expansion, it is notable that mainstream media would buy content from a Mormon media enterprise.
“That’s a question we get asked immediately,” Sanders said, but Deseret includes in its target audience “like-minded believers” with similar interests to its Mormon base. “We do not syndicate the LDS-oriented content.”
While GateHouse may initially use the content for weekly faith and religion pages and a faith section of its website, Sanders said the offerings are broader. “Much of this is enterprising reporting, not featurish,” and could fit in other sections of a paper or its website.