Catholic Voice to adopt digital-first approach
June 11, 2020
This September, readers of the Catholic Voice will notice one of the outcomes of the archdiocese’s pandemic-related budget cuts: Our print edition will be published less often.
Currently, the Catholic Voice is published 21 times per year – on the first and third Fridays of each month during the academic year, and monthly during the summer. From this September onward, our monthly publication schedule will simply continue year round. However, we will publish on the third Friday of the month instead of the second, as we typically do in summer.
The decrease from 21 issues to 12 per year might appear dramatic. Yet it is not quite as drastic as it seems. The issues we do publish will be considerably bigger, to accommodate the content we will still produce and the advertising we will continue to run. In other words, we are not planning any substantial reduction in the quality or quantity of our local editorial content.
As in the past, almost all of our content will be available on our website, catholicvoiceomaha.com. For a couple of years, some of this content has appeared on the web before it was published in print. We have also published a small amount of web-exclusive material.
Yet, because of the demands of our print publication, as well as its high readership and strong advertising support, our focus has been primarily on our newspaper. And that’s understandable. We have always wanted to reach as large an audience as possible with the good news about our local church. Our website visits are still a small fraction of the 48,000-plus households that receive each edition of our paper.
This focus is about to change. Our new publication schedule will free up a modest amount of staff resources, which we will use to expand and promote our presence on the web. This will certainly involve publishing our local content to our website as soon as it becomes available, rather than waiting for the next edition of our newspaper.
But that’s only the beginning. At the center of our digital-first approach will be the publication of a new weekly e-newsletter. This newsletter will highlight key content from our website that has made the Catholic Voice a favorite friend in Catholic households across the archdiocese for decades: the archbishop’s message, news from our parishes and schools, inspirational feature stories, and formative scriptural reflections and commentary.
In short, our e-newsletter will showcase the high-quality content we are already posting to our website. But it will also shape that content. As a weekly publication, our e-newsletter will lead us to focus more on the timely dissemination of news. As a digital product, it will be more attractive to a younger audience – one that prefers to receive its information online – and will encourage us to provide more content for this age group. Our e-newsletter will also prompt an even more prevalent and effective use of photography.
Along with our e-newsletter, another way we will expand our online presence is through social media. For some time, we have used the Voice’s Facebook page, facebook.com/TCVOmaha, to highlight particular articles once they were published in print. These posts, too, will become more frequent and timely. So please like us and follow us, so your feed will include our content. In time, we hope to expand our social media presence to other digital platforms, especially to attract more young Catholics.
The recent pandemic-induced economic downturn has caused financial difficulties for many families and organizations. When this happens, people of faith turn to God for help in discerning a way forward. Through prayerful reflection, consultation and discussion – including with the archdiocesan administration – the Catholic Voice is making a virtue out of necessity. More than simply maintaining what we can, our plan will afford us the opportunity to grow in new ways. We hope you will be pleased with the results.
Dan Rossini is editor and general manager of the Catholic Voice.