Fresh news, new formats for The Catholic Review
About 18 months ago, a group of dedicated people who care about the mission of this publication set about to study how to make it better. They strived, in the words of long-range planning committee chairwoman Patricia Bosse, of Notre Dame of Maryland University, to “maintain and enhance the rhythm of communications in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.”
The results of that strategic planning process for The Catholic Review are about to hit your mailbox, your parish and your computer.
The print edition you’re used to reading will have a whole new look. A new logo, certainly, and a fresher, more open layout; but far more than that. And our website will be recreated from the motherboard up.
This is more than just a cosmetic change, however. It goes to the heart of who we are and how we communicate.
We began the strategic planning process with the realization that our industry was changing, that we could not sustain The Catholic Review forever as we know it with a print-based model. But our own research, bolstered by research by other industry groups, showed that our core readers want to retain a print publication while a growing segment of our readers seek solid Catholic news and features in digital formats – on the web, on tablets (such as iPads), and on smartphones and via email.
We have to be where the conversations are happening – “Wherever your faith takes you.” There are lots of good reasons for a publication like ours to be available in both print and digital channels. Suffice it to say that even as we necessarily expand our digital offerings, we’ll remain in print as long as the need remains. We expect that to be a long time because it’s good to have a Catholic newspaper in the home – on the coffee table, in the kitchen, sparking conversation and a deeper faith life.
So we set out to become not primarily a weekly newspaper, but a constantly fresh news operation, with multiple channels and multiple frequencies in order to reach a variety of audiences.
This issue will be the last weekly printed Catholic Review. The Catholic Review will become a biweekly newspaper, albeit a larger, enhanced newspaper. We’ll cover more news, with more depth in print, every two weeks, beginning Jan. 26 in a brand new format.
Our website, which used to be a virtual mirror of the print edition, will feature much more content, freshened daily, with blogs and articles to help you build your Catholic faith, and integrate it with your life, work and playtime. What’s it like to be not just a parent in today’s world, but a Catholic parent? How can you bring morals and ethics into the workplace, so that your faith isn’t just something that you experience an hour every Sunday, but something that affects the 40 hours a week you’re at work? These are questions our website will help you explore every day. We’ll have new contributors writing about these topics, and we’ll invite your comments and reflections.
We want to try a lot of new ways to reach people with news. As we roll out the new features, we’ll be enhancing our e-newsletters, developing ways to access our news via tablets, and bringing back our electronic edition. We’re also creating a new publication called “Review in the Pew” that will be delivered to parishes biweekly – in weeks The Catholic Review is not published – with news briefs, upcoming events and short articles. It will be test-marketed in some parishes, and, if well received, it will be rolled out to the whole archdiocese.
The Catholic Review is not just a newspaper; it’s the news that matters, not the method that it is delivered. No matter how you want your Catholic news delivered, we want to be there.
Throughout the development of this new strategic plan, we have focused on four key words as our goal: We want to “Inform, Teach, Inspire and Engage” our readers. To reflect that, we will change the tagline below our front-page nameplate from “Serving the Archdiocese of Baltimore” to “Inspiring the Archdiocese of Baltimore.”
We chose this moment to launch because Jan. 24 is the feast of St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of journalists, and the deadline for our first issue of the new design. Please pray for our success in spreading the Gospel message.
As we approach the Year of Faith that has been declared by Pope Benedict XVI, we hope that the new Catholic Review will inform you and form your faith. We hope you will be engaged and encouraged to write letters and comment on the web. Most of all, we hope you will be inspired, as we have been by this process.
CEO, Catholic Review Media