July 11, 2011
SAM LUCERO
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE

PITTSBURGH — Although social media is the rage in today's world of communication, one Catholic bishop offered an impassioned speech in support of Catholic print publications.

During a panel discussion June 23 at the 2011 Catholic Media Convention, Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik said Catholic newspapers and magazines continue to be the best way to reach people in the pews.

"There has been no greater and more consistent success in Catholic communications in the United States than through the use of print," Zubik said.

He cited figures from the Catholic Press Association's official directory, which showed that Catholic newspapers and magazines in Canada and the United States reach almost 13 million households.

"That is an extraordinary number and that is still going on today," said Zubik. "We can and we must use every means of social communications available to us today: television, radio, Twitter, Facebook, Skype and whatever has evolved since you and I began our meeting this morning.

"But I believe it is incumbent on us as bishops and on us as Church to maintain a vital Catholic print presence."

Zubik noted that he could not predict whether the printed word would still have the same impact in 20 years, but today, "absolutely and fundamentally the best option . . . to evangelize the evangelizers, is through Catholic print."

Bishops/publishers must use the newspaper consistently "as the chief means to communicate with all of the people of the diocese," and they also "must be the most vocal supporter of the diocesan newspaper," he said.

He said it is critical the diocesan newspaper be integrated into the diocesan structure.

"Our newspaper operates as a separate corporation and I recommend strongly that its financial operations be completely distinct from diocesan operations and they are," he explained.

However, management of the newspaper, specifically the general manager and/or the editor, has to be directly involved within a central administration of the diocese to be kept fully abreast on what is going on."