Catholic readers prefer newspapers over digital media, study shows
By Denver Catholic Register
This is the third column in a series marking Catholic Press Month and the Denver Catholic Register’s Join the Mission campaign.
A recent study shows some very good news for the Catholic press.
Despite the emergence of digital communications, Catholics use and prefer traditional media for Church news, according to a study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University that was commissioned by the Catholic Press Association and released last fall.
“(The) study showed that 26 percent of adult Catholics (14.8 million) had read a print copy of their diocesan newspaper or magazine in the past three months, but only 4 percent had gone to their computer to view the online version of the publication,” reported the Catholic News Service.
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“The study also revealed that readership of Catholic newspapers has held steady over the past six years, a far cry from the daily newspaper business, which has recorded continuous declines in revenue, readership, advertising and employment,” CNS reported.
In addition, the study showed that “millennials,” those born after 1981, were more likely to be reached through a print product in their home as they don’t look for religious content on the Internet and that Catholics spend nearly five times longer reading a print product than a website.
Reflecting on the study’s results, Catholic Press Association president Greg Erlandson said, “Print may be changing, but it is not going away. It still remains the best means of communicating with those who are the most active, the most committed and the most generous in a parish or diocese.”
The Denver Catholic Register’s own readership survey affirms that. And while we’re proud to be the Denver Archdiocese’s flagship communication tool, we also appreciate the value of new media and expand our reach through our online presence (www.DenverCatholicRegister.org).
A few weeks ago, at the start of Catholic Press Month, Erlandson noted that this year’s observance is happening at a “particularly critical moment” as the U.S. bishops share “their concern with recent government regulations and the threat such regulations pose to religious liberty.
“It is during challenging times like these that we can best recognize the great blessing that is the Catholic press,” he said. “It is critical that Catholics not only have access to sound news coverage and commentary, but that they hear directly from their leaders on the issues of the day and have the resources to see their world through the eyes of faith.
"Only the Catholic press,” he continued, “gives Catholic leaders a voice with which to be heard by their people—unmuted, uncensored and independent of the preconceptions and prejudices of too many secular media outlets.”
Indeed, Pope Benedict XVI has called the Catholic press “irreplaceable.”
Next month, the Denver Catholic Register will mark 112 years of service to the Gospel. With every issue we strive to inform you about what’s happening in the Church, inspire you with how the Gospel is transforming lives and engage you with the Catholic faith. With a long legacy of award-winning excellence and a commitment to superior stewardship, today the Denver Catholic Register remains strong as the largest subscription weekly in the state with more than 88,000 subscribers.
Two weeks ago we launched our annual stewardship campaign, Join the Mission, in which we invite readers who receive the Register complimentary as part of parish membership to join our mission of serving the Gospel through the Catholic press by voluntarily contributing the yearly $35 subscription cost (visit www.denvercatholicregister.org/join for more details, or click here to download advertisement). Many of you have already responded. Here’s what a couple of you said about why it’s important for you to support the Register.
Mary Buckley, 80, wife of John Buckley and parishioner of St. Mark Parish in Westminster, said she appreciates how the Register explains the teachings of the Catholic faith, “like what we do in Lent and that the holy days are emphasized.”
Buckley, a Denver native and sister to two Jesuit priests—Father Leo Weber and the late Father Joseph Weber—remembers receiving the Register in herchildhood home.
“I’ve gotten the Register all my life and I wouldn’t give it up because I like the articles in it, especially the news items about the parishes.” Bill Trubey, 53, a cable company network engineer who attends St. Joseph Parish in Golden and Our Lady of Fatima in Lakewood, said it’s important to him “to help support Denver’s prominent publication for the archdiocese—and ensure its financial well being.”
Trubey said he uses the Register as an “information resource on the happenings, events, Church announcements, etc. of our region and the Holy See.“I also love reading the opinion sections to help remind me of Catholic doctrine and social issues impacting our lives,” he added.
“Please continue your quality journalism for us readers and those who follow our Catholic faith.”
With God’s blessing, the ongoing encouragement of apostolic administrator Bishop James Conley and the continued support of our readers, the Register plans to carry the good news of Jesus Christ far into the third millennium.
We hope you’ll consider joining our mission.
Roxanne King is editor of the Denver Catholic Register.