Edwin O. Haroldsen

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Edwin Haroldsen was one of the best-known LDS journalists of the sixties. During his professional career he worked as a regional editor for the U.S. News and World Report, United Press, the Salt Lake Tribune, and the Deseret News. Due to Haroldsen’s extensive background, Dean Lorin F. Wheelwright approached Haroldsen and invited him to come to BYU as a journalism professor.

In 1972, he was named chair of the Communications Department and served until 1975. Haroldsen continued the work started by other chairs to help turn the Daily Universe into a laboratory newspaper. He also focused on creating a better relationship between the department chair and the broadcasters. Haroldsen approved budget increases for broadcast and actually began to study broadcast so that he could be a more effective teacher.

Early Life

Haroldsen was a technical writer and editor, newspaper, wire service and magazine journalist over a period of more than 20 years, then served nearly that many years as a journalism professor at Brigham Young University.

He was born April 22, 1918, on a farm near Idaho Falls, Idaho to George and Catharine Smith Haroldsen, and attended a two-room country school. He graduated from Idaho Falls High School and attended the University of Idaho Southern Branch at Pocatello. He was editor of the college newspaper and played the trombone in the pep band.

He served an LDS mission in Ohio, Michigan and Illinois. He married his sweetheart Kathryn Baird of Brigham City, Utah in the Salt Lake LDS Temple in 1941. They are the parents of six children: Bruce Edwin, Mark Oliver, Jon Scott, Sue Kenny, Jay Baird and Michelle Tori Peterson.

Education and Career

While working full time as a sports writer for the Salt Lake Tribune, Haroldsen attended the University of Utah, graduating with high honors and a B.S. degree in economics in 1943 and later earning an MS degree in Journalism. He was a statistician with the U.S. AG Dept. and joined the U.S. Maritime Service when World War II intensified. He taught journalism at Idaho Falls High School and became a United Press correspondent in Boise, Idaho. He was a staff writer for nearly 10 years at the Deseret News. He also served as agricultural extension editor at Utah State University.

Beginning in 1959, he moved his family to Ankara, Turkey where he worked two years for the U.S. Government as an agricultural information adviser. He then worked for five years as an economics editor at Iowa State University. During this period he earned a Ph.D. degree in sociology at ISU and won a national first prize for distinguished agricultural journalism.

In 1966, he became Chicago regional editor of U.S. News & World Report. He covered the 1968 general election campaign, race riots in Milwaukee and Chicago, followed Senators Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy on the campaign trail, and spearheaded the magazine's coverage of U.S. agriculture. Beginning in the fall of 1987, Haroldsen wrote a regular editorial page column for the Provo Daily Herald, which he loved doing and wrote on a variety of subjects and concerns.

BYU Career

Haroldsen joined the BYU faculty in 1969, and served three years as department chair. He was made full professor in 1974. Under his leadership, the campus newspaper, the Daily Universe, was converted into a laboratory publication for teaching of journalism and won numerous honors. Later, he helped in the development of a daily television newscast on KBYU to train broadcast students. He worked two summers full time in television news with Channel 4, and later with Channel 2, in Salt Lake City. Though Haroldsen retired from full-time teaching in 1985, he continued to work for BYU for several years.

While on leave from BYU, Haroldsen taught journalism at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica, where he helped establish laboratory newspapers for students. Later, he worked as a technical editor in Bogor, Indonesia, for a subsidiary of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Personal Life

During his life, he traveled throughout the world, including a tour of Latin America in 1976 and the Far East and South Africa in 1977. In 1984-85, he taught journalism at the American University in Cairo, Egypt.

Haroldsen and his wife Kathryn went to London, England on an LDS mission in October 1986. In March 1987, they were transferred to the mission in San Diego, California. While there, Kathryn was stricken with liver cancer and his sweetheart of 46 years passed away September 5, 1987.

On March 6, 1988, Ed married Cleo Christensen Bradley. She passed away in December 1997.

On May 2, 1998, Ed married Merle Hyde of Orem. They lived in Ed's home until Ed moved to the Courtyard Assisted Living Center in May 2002.

He was a High Priest in the LDS church, and was a member of the Rock Canyon Ward at the time of his death. He was twice bishop of the Wandimere Ward in Salt Lake City, served on the high councils in Chicago and Provo, and many church leadership positions in Iowa, Turkey, Jamaica, and Indonesia. One of his favorite callings was being the editor of the ward paper in two different wards.

Haroldsen died peacefully on Sunday, July 28, 2002 at his home in Provo, Utah, surrounded by his children and grandchildren.

News Links


  • Somewhere Between Mount Olympus and Mount Everest, Paul Alfred Pratte, 2003.
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