Coming to Philly: "Phaith"

Another big change in the Catholic media landscape, as a venerable Philadelphia newspaper goes from a weekly to a monthly:

Beginning in September local Catholics will have a new publication to look for in their mailboxes.

Phaith — a monthly magazine — will be mailed free of charge to every registered Catholic home in the Archdiocese, including the homes of the 75 percent of Catholics who do not attend Church on a regular basis, said Matthew Gambino, The Catholic Standard & Times’ director and general manager.

Along with the new publication, the Catholic Standard & Times will go from a weekly newspaper to a monthly — with a larger projected circulation per edition, Gambino said. At the same time, The Catholic Standard & Times will also increase its growing Internet presence through daily news updates and increased content.

The magazine, which is set to be launched in mid-September, will be locally written and will tell the faith stories of local people in an attractive format and engaging style.

The magazine will be published through an outside source, Faith Catholic in Lansing, Mich., and will be similar in format to a number of magazines Faith Catholic produces for other dioceses.

The difference between the newspaper and the magazine will be in emphasis, Gambino said.

“Whereas the newspaper will continue to favor news and commentary with a component of evangelization and catechesis,” he said, “the magazine will flip the model, offering primarily content with the intention of evangelization. Basically a reader will learn how another person is living out his or her faith in Jesus as a Catholic in some interesting fashion, designed for long shelf life in the home. There will also be catechesis and a news component, mostly briefs.”

The new format is especially exciting, Gambino said, “because it will be going into so many homes and it is storytelling — telling of people in love with their faith and alive with their faith. It will be a light to people who are not necessarily engaged with the Church. That’s what makes it exciting. As Pope Benedict would say, the new evangelization is showing the beauty of friendship with Jesus. That is what the magazine will do.”

The last weekly issue of the weekly Catholic Standard & Times will be June 30, with bi-weekly issues in July and August, and monthly issues beginning in late September.

The newspaper has been published as a weekly since the 1895 merger of two older papers, the Catholic Standard and the Catholic Times. In its heyday, before television and the Internet, it had a circulation well in excess of 100,000.

In the most recent decade, 2000-2010, circulation has dropped from 85,185 to 31,240, a loss that the self-supporting paper cannot sustain.

Read more. I gotta say: I’m not loving the name of the magazine.  I get it.  But I’m not loving it.  Maybe that’s just me.

Comments

  1. Terrible name. Great idea, though.

  2. Heidi Schlumpf says:

    It’s not just you.

  3. I agree on the name. Even “Philly Faith” or “Faith in Philly”
    would have been better.

  4. Jim Koval says:

    Dear Greg,

    You may not like the name, but I think you will like the content and format. I am part of the Diocese of Lansing. As someone who has been reading FAITH since the beginning, I can tell you that if PHAITH is the same quality as the original, it will be a great tool for strengthening people’s faith.

    Oremus pro Invicem,

    Jim

  5. Jim Dotter says:

    Deacon Greg:

    All that matters is the Phillie Phanatic LOVES IT!
    ;-)

  6. I’ll be writing for Phaith – and do hope that we can be as high quality as the original!

    (And I’m certain the Phanatic will be pleased….)

  7. Agreed. The name is clever by half.

    Also, I noticed the author of the story about the end of the paper was a freelancer. That’s smarts.

    I hope the archdiocese and the paper’s editors invest money for the staff’s training. A monthly is a whole different animal than a weekly; it isn’t just changing the color of lampshades.
    Will the writers for the magazine be local staffers or does it run syndicated columns by out of towners?

    I hope it works for them. It goes to show why we need the Deacon’s Bench, Whispers and all the other new media.

  8. Very possibly a Phoolish move. It is difficult to publish current news going on in the diocese with a magazine since the deadlines are 6 weeks in advance. That is what readers want. What they don’t want, or need, are articles describing the difference between an alb and a stole, or similar pre-formatted filler articles. People want to know what’s going on in their community. I speak from experience. RIP diocesan newspapers.

  9. Drew, Lou Baldwin is actually a retired CS&T staff writer who has continued writing for the paper as a freelancer.

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