Content Evangelist recently invited the Diocese of Charleston's Director of Communications, Michael Acquilano, to reflect on the decision to have the The Catholic Miscellany make the transition from a newspaper to a new diocesan magazine. According to Michael, the new publication allows the diocese to better fulfill its mission of evangelization by equipping disciples with content that inspires, educates and informs, ultimately helping them to grow in faith.
Q. Congratulations on the launch of the Catholic Miscellany magazine! How has the new publication been received across the diocese?
A. So far, we have been receiving a lot of positive feedback in a short time frame. We believe that the magazine can touch more lives, and we are already reaping the fruits. The addition of the dual Spanish translation, for example, has given us the ability to speak to one of the largest growing Catholic communities in South Carolina. We are also working to provide a copy of the Catholic Miscellany to all registered Catholic families in our state this summer, which only increases our opportunity to instill the Word in many more homes.
Q. The former Catholic Miscellany newspaper had a long and grand history. What factors went into the decision to switch to a magazine format while still honoring the legacy of the nation’s first Catholic newspaper? And what process did you undertake to make sure the decision was supported among stakeholders?
A. We wanted to give our subscribers a more tangible, visual representation of the Catholic faith in South Carolina. By incorporating beautiful images particularly, we are better equipped to show our fellow Catholics and Christians alike the positive change that is being made in our communities, and our state. The Church has always used icons, architecture, and art in lifting minds and hearts to God, and we are doing our best to imitate it in this way. Additionally, we have found that the magazine format gives us more space for our authors to share their stories, their knowledge, and their love for Catholicism.
Q. Strategically, the new magazine and the companion content website you launched at themiscellany.org represent a new direction for the Diocese of Charleston; one we have called “content evangelization.” Why was it important to include a digital version of the magazine in this type of format?
A. We live in an information saturated world in which technology plays a pivotal role. By creating a digital copy of the Catholic Miscellany, we are responding to the needs of our audience. We wanted the magazine to be accessible on the go for many of our readers who live fast-paced and busy lives. We hope that in optimizing our content for search engines, the stories we share can be more easily discoverable by people of all backgrounds. Additionally, it is easier for readers to share articles with their loved ones that might particularly appeal to them.
Q. How has your editorial strategy changed since moving to a magazine? Are you able to showcase individuals and their witness stories differently? Do you think those are having a stronger impact when presented in a full-color magazine?
A. Newspaper journalism, while effective in spreading the general concept of stories, can often strike readers and authors alike as removed from real-life events. We want to give our writers the ability to truly share their experiences, and our editorial strategy reflects this. We strive to be the vessel of truths, truths which many of those in our communities can share only through the formation of personal, unique encounters with them. And as the timeless adage aptly states: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Q. Tell us about the plans to expand the magazine’s reach to every diocesan household in the state of South Carolina. Why is that a priority?
A. We are currently planning on providing a free copy of The Catholic Miscellany to all Catholic families in South Carolina by July 1. We are doing this with the assistance of all 115 parishes and missions, who have provided us with comprehensive lists of all registered Catholics in our state. We feel that a single, unified, and consistent source of Catholic news will give our subscribers a sense of communion with all SC Catholics. In fostering this unity, we hope that we ignite the collective desire of our state to pursue and proclaim the truth, goodness, and beauty of Christ and his Church.