About our new look ….

Dear reader of the Catholic Star Herald:

Thank you for getting to your post box in the cold of a New Jersey winter to retrieve this publication and to read through it. You will notice some changes.

Check out our new nameplate on page one. It’s less traditional and, we hope, more compelling and eye-catching. Check out the left side of the front page as we offer you tidbits about what you might expect as you open us up. The inside pages feature different fonts – graphic speak for print styles – and ways to better identify our sections. We will be regularly displaying the logo celebrating our 75th anniversary of the Diocese of Camden.

It’s all part of our new look this year.

The pages are a bit smaller – economics has its cruel dictates – but at the same time we’ve taken this opportunity, thanks to the expertise of Tom O’Shea, our graphics designer, to offer a cleaner, more modern look.

Newspapers today need to stand out more than ever, thanks to competition from all kinds of technology which tempt our readers. Still, nearly 65,000 households receive this publication every week, making the Catholic Star Herald South Jersey’s largest newspaper. The staff here remains committed to a print vehicle to communicate the news of our diocese.

But aren’t Catholic newspapers old news? Who goes to their diocesan newspaper anymore for information? How does a newspaper fit into a plan to reach younger people? Good questions, all.

According to a recent study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), print publications still have a place in disseminating news about the church.

They remind us that only 10 percent of Catholics prefer to get their diocesan news on line. What about that electronic youth connection? Not so overwhelming. In fact, CARA notes, more Catholics over the age of 60 are visiting Catholic websites than those under 30.

Further info from the study: Only 4 percent of Catholics have read their diocesan newspaper on line in the past three months, but 26 percent say they have read a print copy.

In the battle between print and social media and websites, it is well past time to cease hostilities. The church needs all forms of communication. But when it comes to the priority of reaching faithful Catholics, the diocesan newspaper has the widest reach, according to the CARA study.

Diocesan newspapers in particular, note the study, are effective in reaching churchgoing Catholics. A majority of weekly Massgoers have read a copy of their diocesan newspaper. No other medium of communication comes close.

The bottom line? Catholic diocesan newspapers are the best vehicle to reach those already involved in their parishes. Yes, we need to reach those who don’t go to Mass regularly, but there is no evidence to indicate that group is flocking to Catholic websites either. In terms of reaching committed Catholics, there is nothing electronic that comes anywhere close to your diocesan newspaper.

Peter Feuerherd

Associate Publisher

Catholic Star Herald

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