Dear Friends in Christ,
In 2010, shortly after he became archbishop of Milwaukee and publisher of your Catholic Herald, Archbishop Jerome Listecki told the publication’s staff, “I don’t believe print is dead. People said radio was dead when TV came along in the ‘50s. Radio re-invented itself, and look at it now. Print has to re-invent itself.”
Those encouraging words from the archbishop began a two-year process that included discussions, prayer, an extensive survey of Herald readers and non-readers, more discussions, continued prayer, development of prospective new looks for the Herald, more discussions, even more prayer, and, finally, decisions.
Two weeks ago, readers of the print version saw one of the results of that surveying-discussing-praying-deciding: the debut of Catholic Herald Family — an effort to reach more of the people who comprise the “domestic church,” i.e., the Catholic family.
This coming Thursday, they will see more of the surveying-discussing-praying results. The Oct. 11 issue will feature our new flag, an updating of our look, easier to read type and, as a rule, shorter stories.
Content will change. We are devoting at least one page per issue to national and international news. The voices page will be a regular part of the paper. The Colorful Gospel has become the Colorful Scripture, giving us the option of providing faith formation in connection with the week’s first or second reading, as well as the Gospel. The popular People of Faith feature will return on a regular basis.
We are not changing for the sake of change, but changing because of what you told us you wanted to see in the publication that serves our Catholic community, and changing because of how you and others consume media.
We had planned to do this sooner, but the process took longer than we anticipated, and it’s still taking place. The more ideas we considered, the longer it took. But what better time to change than as we begin the Year of Faith? Since your Catholic Herald presents stories of faith weekly, and our mission is guided by faith, there couldn’t be a better time than Oct. 11 to introduce this.
The Herald has not isolated itself from the evolution in news media. There are those who still value and invest in a medium that you can hold, clip and mark, but fewer and fewer people do. In order to continue its service to the Catholic community, the Herald will make better use of new media.
While we fortify the print product, we are regularly improving our website, www.chnoline.org, utilizing Twitter and Facebook, and exploring other options for instructing, informing and inspiring the Catholic community.
Changes at the Herald have not been limited to how we disseminate our content. We have increased our presence in the community, partnering with the Saint Clare Center at Cardinal Stritch University to help sponsor the Forums on Faith and Work that are held throughout the academic year. This past summer we co-sponsored four Theology on Tap sessions for young adults as a way of introducing them to the Catholic Herald and to MyFaith, one of our niche publications. We continue our partnership with the Milwaukee Council of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in sponsoring Caps4Kids, our annual effort to warm the heads and hands of children in need.
Our staff understands that this is a challenging time in the Catholic Church and for print media, but those challenges, when accepted with faith, don’t dampen our enthusiasm for what we do and what the Catholic Herald is capable of doing. The look of the medium will change; multiple media will be employed. But our purpose, our mission, to inform (evangelize), instruct (catechize), and inspire will not change.
Please keep the Catholic Press Apostolate and Catholic Herald staff members in your prayers.