Friday, July 17, 2009

The Catholic Spirit to go Bi-Weekly; four issues will go to all registered Catholics

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Significant changes are on the way for The Catholic Spirit. A number of forces have been impacting our archdiocesan newspaper: advertising dollars are down due primarily to the overall economy, and postage costs continue to climb.

Despite the awards for journalistic excellence that The Catholic Spirit continues to receive, rising costs and decreasing revenues dictate we have to make adjustments to operations. Rather than increase prices, The Catholic Spirit will be changing its frequency of delivery.

The newspaper will be published biweekly throughout the year beginning in September, a schedule that we have maintained over the summer months for more than a decade now. Rather than 45 issues per year, our staff will be publishing 26. Those biweekly issues will be a minimum of 24 pages to afford the space to bring readers news, faith formation material and Catholic perspectives on as many topics as possible. The 16-page issues we were forced to print at times during the past six months just didn’t allow for the variety of coverage you — and we — have come to expect.

Four specials planned

In addition to those 26 issues, The Catholic Spirit will produce four special issues that will go to every registered Catholic household in our archdiocese.

When this proposal was presented to the Presbyteral Council last spring, there was much agreement among those priest-leaders that this type of outreach was what has been missing in our archdiocesan communication effort. Topics for those special publications are being developed right now in accord with Archbishop John Nienstedt’s priorities and in consultation with the Archbishop’s Council.

There is a commitment on the part of The Catholic Spirit staff that those four efforts be part of a multi-media package that utilizes a variety of vehicles to get messages to people in ways they are most likely to value. Those methods, of course, mean use of the Internet and new media.

While the reduction in printing frequency is a step the archbishop, our board of directors and the staff would have preferred not to have to take because we can’t respond in print as quickly to the happenings that impact Catholic life, we are consoled that we have digital means at hand that are up to that task.

Touching more lives digitally

In fact, traffic on www.TheCatholicSpirit.com has increased by more than 700 percent since last July. More than 40,000 unique visitors are coming to our Web site each month, adding to the number of lives that are touched by the award-winning work your Catholic Spirit staff produces.

As we push out stories many times a day via our Web site and Twitter and weekly via our e-newsletter, Catholic Spirit staff members are doing all we can to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ and the teachings of his church. We are confident this new publishing schedule will enable The Catholic Spirit to continue to be the best diocesan newspaper in North America. Please know that reader suggestions for achieving that end are always welcome. Contact me any way that is most convenient.

Bob Zyskowski is associate publisher/general manager of The Catholic Spirit. Contact him by e-mail at ZyskowskiR@archspm.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ; by mail at 244 Dayton Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102; by fax: 651-291-4460; or via Twitter: @ZyskowskiR.
The Catholic Spirit
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