Meet the editor in chief of the Church News and learn about her vigor for the field of journalism
The Church News headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah is a “living record of the restoration” of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Like any organization, there is a leader at the helm looking over everything, getting things approved and keeping projects in motion. So who is it at the Church News? None other than one of BYU’s own: Sarah Jane Weaver, a graduate of the School of Communications’ journalism program.
Even as a little girl, Weaver said that journalism was always the goal. “I declared my major before I went to BYU and I never changed it,” said Weaver. After decades of being in the business, the editor is still just as in love with journalism now as she’s always been. “I love the profession. I love everything about it. It connects people to their world, to their government, to their church, to their families.”
Weaver never wavered. What she never expected, however, was the opportunity to report on the leaders of the LDS Church and see how they carried themselves and a global religion.
“Early on, I wanted to be a political reporter. I did the Washington Seminar and did an internship with the Deseret News Washington Bureau,” said Weaver. It was through the Washington Seminar that she was able to meet editors at the Deseret News who would later suggest she apply for a position at the Church News.
“Once I went to work at Church News, I felt very strongly about its mission and I really wanted to amplify the voices of prophets and apostles,” she said. “I loved the Church and I enjoyed telling stories about the lives of church members and all the good they do around the world.”
Weaver has loved telling stories about the Church’s humanitarian efforts, as well as Church education, welfare services and temple dedications. “Suddenly, I was seeing this really beautiful picture of the Church unfold and that was very fulfilling to me to be able to be a part of telling that story for other Church members,” said the editor.
She began her Church News career in 1995 and has had the unique opportunity to cover the Church under the leadership of three different prophets. Presidents Gordon B. Hinckley, Thomas S. Monson and Russell M. Nelson.
“People say, ‘What’s it like to travel with the Prophet?’ I say, ‘I don’t travel with the Prophet, I follow him.’ It is a really profound privilege to observe prophets with the people,” she said.
Weaver describes her job as no different than any other member of the Church. “We do, however, get to view the Church from a very unique perspective. I always call it, ‘the Church News window,’” she said. “There’s access that we have because of our job because we have a charge to amplify the words of prophets and apostles and to connect them to Latter-day Saints. And that is a beautiful view.”
In a world that now presents news and information vastly different than how it did in the early aughts of 1995, the BYU alum has seen the role of journalism in the past and is still firm in her convictions about the importance of news today.
“The industry is just as important now as it was then. In fact, it’s more important because people are desperate for information and they need to get it from a credible source,” said Weaver. “Information is empowering. It helps [people] make better decisions.”
Weaver has navigated the two spheres of religious and world news through the Church News organization.
“It is a great blessing to write about something that you care about and I cannot think of a greater cause in this whole world than the cause of Jesus Christ and the church he established,” she said.
Even 26 years later, Weaver is still so grateful for the career life has given her. “Every day I wake up and pinch myself. I think, ‘How did this happen? How did I get the opportunity to write about something that I care about so much?”