Paul Dail named new editor in chief of St. George News with goals to develop transparency, interaction

Paul Dail, the new editor in chief of St. George News, is hoping to bring transparency to the online news source as it continues to provide impactful news and information to the residents of Southern Utah region. St. George, Utah, Sept. 12, 2018 | Photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Coming from a background of fiction writing, teaching language arts and editing, Paul Dail has taken the reins as the new editor in chief of St. George News after having been with the organization for 2 ½ years. 

Paul Dail, the new editor in chief of St. George News, has a background in fiction writing, teaching English, freelance writing and editing. St. George, Utah, Sept. 12, 2018 | Photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

Dail, a father of three from Cedar City, started his role as the editor in chief of the online news source in August. As the head of St. George News and Cedar City News, Dail edits articles, manages stories written by reporters and serves as the news source’s representative. 

“Paul has a natural gift for spotting a good story and the ability and experience as an editor to transform a good story into a great one,” said Ben Lindquist, general manager of Canyon Media, the parent company of St. George News.

Looking to the future of St. George News

By making St. George News more transparent and continuing reporter interactions with the community, Dail said he hopes to expand the reach of St. George News and help people know about the decisions that are made behind the scenes.

Journalists’ jobs include so much interaction with the public, Dail said, but there is often a divide between journalists and members of the community, possibly because many people don’t know what drives decisions in the newsroom. 

He said it could also be the very fact that there is so much public interaction. Journalists are similar to members of law enforcement, Dail said, because at the purest motivations for both professions is the root goal to serve their public, but their actions also make them the subject of intense public scrutiny. 

“I think a lot of people think of the media as some secret society in a way,” Dail said, “(but) transparency is important in journalism, especially today. One of my big goals is to open the doors a little more and help our readers know where we’re coming from, why we make the decisions we make.”

And where they’re coming from is St. George and Cedar City, Dail added, saying that helping people feel like St. George News is part of the community is another of his goals – an important lesson he attributes to his predecessor, Joyce Kuzmanic, and a goal that goes hand-in-hand with serving their local readers.

Paul Dail, the new editor in chief of St. George News, speaks to one of his reporters inside the lobby of Canyon Media, the parent company of St. George News and several radio stations in Southern Utah. St. George, Utah, Sept. 12, 2018 | Photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

Dail said that while he has final say over what gets published, he can’t make those decisions without thinking about the community.

“My job includes deciding what’s important to our readers, what they need to know, what they might want to know and what might make their lives better or more interesting that day,” he said. “We are looking out for the best interests of the community.”

This is often easier said than done, he added. Sometimes it’s a small thing, like having to tell someone that St. George News won’t be able to cover a story, a reality that Dail said is one of the hardest parts of his job.

“Every story idea that comes to us is important to somebody,” he said. “I wish I could publish them all.”

But sometimes considering the best interests of the readers deals with bigger issues and rough decisions over sensitive content that are grappled with in the newsroom, Dail said, adding that sometimes mistakes are made when trying to do “the right thing.” He said:

There’s an old proverb about the road to Hell, but our intention is never to hurt people. Bad news hurts enough already, but if that’s what our public wants or needs to know, then we try to figure out the best way to tell them the story with as much fairness and balance as possible. We don’t always get it right.

Dail said he plans to work toward greater understanding in the upcoming months through a series of editorials and that he looks forward to hearing back from readers.

A little country, a little rock and roll

Dail said he was excited when he learned in the spring of 2017 that Canyon Media had acquired St. George News. Besides being a “radio guy from way back,” including deejaying for both Southern Utah University as well as a commercial station in Missoula, Montana, he said he recognized from the beginning how this partnership could serve their readers in a whole different capacity.

With that in mind, he hopes to continue building on the cooperation between St. George News and Canyon Media radio stations – including St. George News Radio, Planet 105.1, KONY County 99.9 and 95.9 The Hawk – and believes readers and listeners will also be pleased with the relationship.

From the radio side, he said he believes any St. George News readers who are also music fans would want to hear about concert updates, ticket giveaways and other fun promotions being run by the various stations.

In addition, since St. George News has previously been limited to connecting with most of its readers through the internet, having the radio as an additional vehicle for news means the community will have more – and faster – access to up-to-date stories that might not have otherwise popped up on their radar if they weren’t at a computer, whether that’s at work or on the road.

‘We’re not a faceless organization’

Writing is something Dail said he has enjoyed since he was a kid, a passion that ultimately prompted him to get his degree in English with a fiction writing emphasis from the University of Montana. But while he had edited student papers for six years as an English teacher at Tuacahn High School, it wasn’t until he started working for the St. George-based The Independent newspaper in 2014 that he realized he had a knack for news editing as well.

He joined St. George News in February 2016 as an assistant editor and said that over the subsequent 2 ½ years, he learned a considerable amount from Kuzmanic not only about how news in Southern Utah functions and how it’s unique but also what makes St. George News successful.

“The biggest thing I’ve learned is that we’re not a faceless organization and that we don’t cater to the masses,” Dail said. “We cater to individual readers. … St. George News was built one reader at a time, and although we have grown over the past eight years, I won’t forget why we are doing what we do.”

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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31 Comments

  • comment September 26, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Oh boy! Get ready for liberal news.

  • NotSoFast September 26, 2018 at 7:52 am

    A small suggestion Mr. Dail :
    Most people heading out in the morning, like to know what the weather is going to be. Pulling up a local source is handy.
    St. George News main page upper right weather snap shot for today and the next couple day is a joke. Never seems to ever get updated.
    Picky I know. Just a suggestion for something to look at.

    • Paul Dail Paul Dail September 26, 2018 at 8:59 am

      NotSoFast, thanks for the comment, and that’s not picky at all. I completely agree that it needs to be addressed. We are actually already aware of the weather glitch and are trying to remedy that, among other changes we are considering for the overall website. Thanks for your patience.

      Paul Dail
      Editor in chief

      • Fester September 26, 2018 at 12:46 pm

        The site is rather broken. New content is going into archives, while the main page only has old stories and is not getting updated. That’s occurred previously, not just this past month.

        If you’re going to change the comments Disqus would be a good choice. They don’t censor and delete people from the right.

        • Paul Dail Paul Dail September 26, 2018 at 1:25 pm

          Fester, I can actually address that issue, as even I was running into similar issues, and it’s very frustrating. Without going into a complicated response about multiple URLs previously out there for the website (largely because I don’t fully understand them myself), wherever you are looking at the website (either desktop or mobile), you want to use the following address: https://www.stgeorgeutah.com. That should remedy the issue of content not refreshing. It probably wouldn’t hurt to also clear out your browser cache before doing that, but I don’t know if it’s necessary. If that doesn’t fix the issue moving forward, please let me know and I’ll take the issue back to our tech department.

          Paul Dail
          Editor in chief

          • Fester September 27, 2018 at 5:52 am

            Indeed using https instead of http does lead to the current content, thanks. I did not clear any cache. Thanks for the remedy although once one knows to click on “archives” it is an easy workaround.

  • Happy Commenter September 26, 2018 at 8:47 am

    “My job includes deciding what’s important to our readers, what they need to know, what they might want to know and what might make their lives better or more interesting that day,” he said. “We are looking out for the best interests of the community.” Sounds like they will become a bigger source of liberal propaganda than they already are. Will eddy get that velvet high chair he always wanted?

    • comment September 26, 2018 at 6:21 pm

      Couldn’t agree more. Maybe they will end up out of business. Talk about scrapping the bottom of the barrel for leadership.

  • mmsandie September 26, 2018 at 9:56 am

    Wow, I hope comments ar3 revuew s , some people re vicious, and when the comments go back and forth between 2 commenters it gets extended, and does not serve a purpose.. religion and politics should not come into play..

    • Paul Dail Paul Dail September 26, 2018 at 11:06 am

      mmsandie, thanks for your response, and I agree to an extent. I believe people should be able speak their minds on important topics regardless of political or religious affiliation, but as you have alluded, it often goes off track into dialogue – or outright name calling – that has nothing to do with the topic discussed in the article, and I believe our comments forum represents an area for improvement at St. George News if we are going to attempt to maintain civil discourse in tempestuous times. We are currently re-examining our procedures in this area, and not to give too much away, but that will actually be the subject of my first editorial in the upcoming weeks.

      Paul Dail
      Editor in chief

      • Happy Commenter September 26, 2018 at 11:54 am

        That’s right, if you don’t like it , censor it..Typical liberal behavior..

  • Kilroywashere September 26, 2018 at 10:59 am

    First off. Congrats. (My cousin taught theatrical design for years at Missoula U. and now paints ranches for a living) – On that note, you can already see the conservative fear mongers worried SG News will become a fountainhead of liberal propaganda. Alas I guess I’m getting old, but I still like to hear both sides of an issue. Better yet, I like to hear the third side, if there is one. As far as MMsandie’s comment above, I have to disagree. Censoring the comment section, playing referee, or quashing political or religious rhetoric SO A READER CAN avoid being offended etc (whatever reason) is a big mistake. M&M simply move your eyes a little and sift on through to the next comment beliw and don’t worry, they don’t bite. To be honest I often find the Comment section more entertaining than the articles themselves. I often bust out laughing uncontrollably which is good for my health. I was at Siefert’s going away party at the Spectrum years ago, After he left the newspaper was neutered. Part of that process was due to trying to be more politically correct and cutting back on the channels of feedback of the local readers. I could care less if there are more liberal articles or less. They do a service of triggering mega comment behavior so there is a natural balance. What I hope is you continue to allow free speech to prevail. Good luck and best wishes from the village idiot.

    • Paul Dail Paul Dail September 26, 2018 at 11:50 am

      Kilroywashere (I’ll refrain from calling you the village idiot 🙂 ), thanks for your comment and for your best wishes. As you may have seen in my response to mmsandie, whenever relevant, I agree with you that no sides should be stifled in constructive dialogue. I certainly won’t quash one side or another, but I also don’t believe in anonymous commenters using one side’s stated political or religious affiliation as a weapon against another. I believe that results in people who want to engage in an actual conversation being discouraged and opting not to do so if they believe they’re going to be insulted just for having a differing viewpoint.

      Having said that, I don’t want to completely sterilize this forum. As you’ve pointed out, humor is good for the soul, and I too have laughed aloud at the cleverness of some comments that were completely contrary to my point of view. But man, were they funny.

      Paul Dail
      Editor in chief

  • Judy September 26, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    I hope you’ll look at some of the features that have been printed in gigantic print, like the obituaries, puzzles, games, etc. Looks like someone just doesn’t have enough news to fill a paper and has to upsize to fill an edition. I am also constantly steamed by the strong right-leaning bias of this paper. Liberal viewpoints, guest editorials and political cartoons are few and far between. There are some seriously nasty columns by right wingers on a regular basis. I have stuck it out, but as a liberal, I am frequently deeply offended by the lies that are perpetuated by your paper.

    • Happy Commenter September 26, 2018 at 3:28 pm

      You’ve got to be kidding…

      • comments September 26, 2018 at 4:55 pm

        Right, what about Ed Kociela, aka special ED or over-the-edge Eddy? Some days he’s so far off into lefty loony land it’s nuts.

    • ladybugavenger September 26, 2018 at 4:10 pm

      Why are people offended by other views than their own?

      • ladybugavenger September 26, 2018 at 4:24 pm

        It’s ok to disagree but disagreeing doesnt mean you have to be offended. Otherwise, people are going to walk around this earth offended by everything, oh wait! That is happening! That is what the world is turning into. This world, and people in it, is all about getting your way and if you don’t get your way you’re offended. The word offended is being used so much, isnt it? Have you noticed?

        Have a blessed day!

        • AnnieMated September 26, 2018 at 5:19 pm

          I’m offended that you’re offended by my offensive reply to your offensive comment on a editorial that offended both of us! 😉

          • ladybugavenger September 26, 2018 at 10:16 pm

            Exactly lol

    • comment September 26, 2018 at 6:23 pm

      Hahahaha…

    • Redbud September 26, 2018 at 7:36 pm

      Judy, you just made the most uneducated comment ever. Maybe think first before you post lies. No one cares if you think you were “offended.” The only reason you are all sour and bitter is because you can’t accept the truth.

  • comments September 26, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    You people never fail to be predictable. It’s adorable. The introduction article for the new captain of stgnews has turned into nothing less than a stream of incessant whining from a bunch of adult babies. hahaha. Welcome aboard, captain Paul! I’m sure the job will be a lot of fun for many years to come.

    😉

  • Kilroywashere September 26, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    Oh I disagree with you Judy. There are liberal viewpoints represented all the time in SG News. What you want to see and hear is over at the st George Independent, now that they have Jason Gottfeied tied up, bound, and gagged in the backroom writing surveys and editing. The Independent has 0 conservative views these days. It is no longer that politically active anymore as well, ever since Josh W. ran for county commissioner and started a local rock band. No Dallas there either anymore apparently. What a shame his voice is gone- not sarcasm, a true journalist in my opinion that stood up for the common man, though we often disagreed, especially on our current President. (shhhhh, frozen veggie may read this….) No Judy, SG news has the right balance for this part of the country. The comments section could use a little more decorum and less superfluous attacks, but it works itself out. It is no doubt heavily conservative, and that you have to live with, hate, or love. I have been attacked for just mentioning that “T” word so no doubt the liberal voices have issues as well. In the end the SG News is the best news in these parts, and I hope it continues that way. Just hope they don’t censor “Comments” in the future for his diehard anti religious atheistic sarcastic rants. When that happens it’s over for me. Bliss and ignorance are the trade off, no doubt. God Bless the SG News

    • AnnieMated September 26, 2018 at 5:16 pm

      Kilroyshire I agree with you. I believe this paper leans about 60/40 in favor of Republicans. On the right, you have Sierer and Hyde. Of them Sierer is the more centrist, imo. On the left you have Kociela(sp) and the AP. I can’t decide which is more centrist there. The comments are different story though and they need to be cleaned up. I don’t know for sure but I’d say that 80+ percent of commenters on this page are Right-wingers. Political parties aside, far to often I see the comments divulge from people respectfully disagreeing to outright name calling in the space of one or two replies. Outright and obvious trolls who contribute nothing but libel and slander, like ‘Happy Commenter”, need to be gone. You may have the right to speak freely but that doens’t mean that others have to repeat or post what you say.

  • Shaunna Durante September 26, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    PLEASE consider adding more High School and local University sports! You guys used to be the BEST keeping us informed and now it is an occasional summary of the week. Women sports have been especially hit! We loved seeing all of the local talent photos and stats! Thanks!

  • Real Life September 26, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    Congratulations Mr. Dail.

    • Striker4 September 27, 2018 at 1:05 am

      Congratulations Mr Dail

      • Real Life September 27, 2018 at 2:36 pm

        You try too hard.

  • Mike September 29, 2018 at 7:46 am

    Congrats. Our little local news outlet is growing up. I’ve always liked the immediacy of St George News vs other outlets like the Spectrum, but it has lacked some maturity. Sounds like it has been successful enough that this may start to change.
    Don’t be afraid to show both sides of an issue. In fact, please try very hard to do so. So many on both sides have minds like steel traps……nothing gets in or out.
    As for the comments, I really hope we can bring some maturity and civility to that. For those who want to scream about censorship and falsely claim their First Amendment rights are being violated, I offer this: Yes, you have the right to speak. No, that doesn’t mean that somebody else is required to provide you a free forum. You are also free to create your own platform if that’s important to you.

  • Frank September 29, 2018 at 8:14 am

    My Socialist Leftist radar keeps me in my Right safe zone. One potential positive; more left leaning news will get me on with my day doing something positive.

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