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Posted: 6:12 PM- Deseret Morning News Editor Joe Cannon has apologized to his staff for attending a secretive gathering of conservatives after he promised he would not reveal what transpired.

Cannon told the The New York Times and Editor & Publisher magazine that in hindsight it was the wrong decision to trade a promise of not reporting on the meeting of Council on National Policy for an invitation to the event.

"I have caused some pain to people at the paper and may have even injured the reputation of the paper," Cannon told Editor & Publisher. "I made a mistake."

The annual council meeting, a gathering of a few hundred of the nation's most powerful conservative and religious right activists that included an addresses by Vice President Cheney and presidential candidate Mitt Romney, was closed to all news media.

Though Cannon told The Salt Lake Tribune he wasn't sure if the Deseret Morning News would print a story concerning his decision to attend the meeting or his subsequent staff apology.

Cannon said he was unsure if he would apologize to the newspaper's readers. "I don't know the answer to that," he said.

Cannon, a former Republican state chairman, lobbyist and brother of GOP Congressman Chris Cannon, initially defended his attendance, saying that his promise not to report on the closed-door conference did not compromise him as a journalist.

But media ethics experts disagreed. Cannon's promise not write about what was discussed at the conference should alarm his readers because he shifted his loyalty from the paper's readers to powerful government insiders, said Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute, a nonpartisan journalism think tank.

When Cannon was named editor of the Deseret Morning News in December, he had no previous journalism experience outside his 11 years on the LDS Church-owned newspaper's board.