Last week newspaper readers lost a source for news as the Bulletin went the way of its predecessor, that is, out of business. After the original Bulletin folded in 1982, 20 years passed until Tom Rice, a Catholic parishioner from Narberth, launched a newspaper under the same name (see his Profile, page 24). After five years it too is now gone.
The reasons the Bulletin failed are many, but in short, newspapers face a tough uphill task to succeed these days. Publishers must keep expenses low and on par (at least) with a challenging sales environment, while maintaining high standards of editorial quality.
The Bulletin covered the Church fairly. The secular daily paper expended pages and resources for expansive presentations of moral issues with sensitivity to Church teaching and conveyed Catholic news in the Archdiocese with depth and respect.
But the folding of the Bulletin points out that newspapers of all sizes have to make hard choices today. Some papers have cut back on local news coverage and reduced the physical size of the newspaper. The Catholic Standard & Times has done neither, but it is poised to make a change this summer.
Beginning in July, the paper will publish every other week: twice in July and twice in August. This biweekly publishing schedule in the summer not only will save the newspaper more than $40,000 in printing and mailing expenses, but also reflects the reality of reduced advertisements in the summer. Advertising, along with subscription sales, keeps this and every newspaper running. So in addition to inviting a friend to subscribe, please patronize our advertisers and help keep this newspaper coming into the homes of local Catholics.
The Catholic Standard & Times’ coverage of Bishop-elect Timothy Senior’s appointment on Monday as auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia tells the story in greater depth than did any other news organization. It and the other news and Catholic catechesis in the 24 pages of this issue enable Catholic readers to rely on this newspaper to learn about the Church in the Archdiocese and in the world.
The reality of our times is that newspapers are smaller and perhaps less frequently published than in the past. But they are not going away entirely. We will continue to present the life of the body of Christ, the Church, in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as we have for 114 years.