Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Hark! the Herald

Or should I say "Hark! our Herald"? Beginning with the February 16, 2006 issue, our archdiocesan weekly refers to itself not as "the" Catholic Herald but rather as "our" Catholic Herald.

You've probably seen this rhetorical device before. For example, your boarding pass for a short commuter airline flight might say "Your aircraft is not equipped with a restroom." The intent might be to deter you from complaining since, after all, it was your aircraft. But it also provides an occasion for some comeraderie of the manipulated, as passengers point this out to each other and the flight attendants.

I suppose that this blog might serve as something of a journal of semi-pro manipulations by parish and archdiocesan staff. They do seem to often forget to close the cover, and we see the gears turning and stripping, with results along the lines of Me Tarzan, You Jane, We Church. In this case, the "our" technique must now be so passe that it's reached the Cousins Center.

Executive Editor Brian T. Olszewski's (print-only) "Banter" column promises more changes starting with tomorrow's issue. Since it's now my Catholic Herald, what changes might I consider (other than going back to "the")? If you've been reading this blog, you've probably seen most of these.

In general, I'd want more of everything. I've been able to fold some issues of the Herald to fit in a standard business size envelope. That's a newsletter, not a newspaper.

Any mailing to every Catholic household in the Archdiocese would be part of an issue of the Herald. This would include the recent Stewardship Appeal, the annual report, and To Live Is Christ. Since we are paying to print and mail this stuff, why not make it part of our newspaper? These mailings could be reformatted as extra pages wrapped around or inserted in that issue of the Herald, and issues going to everyone would, of course, prominently display subscription information.

I'd like to see more such coordination and integration of the Herald and Archdiocese's web sites, as well. And it wouldn't hurt to let us know a bit more of what's going on in the other dioceses in Wisconsin and their publications. It's seemed to me there's less about them in the Herald than there is about Latin America.

The online edition needs more content, too. Perhaps they're concerned that more online content will cannibalize the print edition, which is required to pay for itself with advertising and subscription income. I'd be content with no current issue content online if everything were posted one issue late. And why not post links to the online sources of print content, like Catholic News Service and columnists Fr. Richard McBrien, Fr. Ron Rolheiser, and George Weigel?

I have to wonder if they could at least link to the other sources, like Vatican News Service, Catholic News Agency, and Zenit, and to columnists they don't run in the print edition. As it is, a determined blogger could link to much more content, just from the news services, columnists, online periodicals, and the Archdiocese's site, than is in the Herald.

P.S. Mike has already weighed in on our Catholic Herald.



Blogger Mike, the Faithful Catholic said...

Thanks for the plug to my blog. The fight goes on...


10:05 PM  

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