This new-fangled thing called the Internet

Just got back from the Catholic Press Association annual meeting, held this year in Anaheim, Calif.

I've been going to these for decades. I can remember a time, just a few years ago, when a few intrepid Catholic press types -- including Tom Fox of NCR -- would meet and discuss this new-fangled thing called the Internet. At the time, they were definitely a sideshow.

As in all press gatherings these days, the Internet is now the main event.

Tim Rutten, writing in the Los Angeles Times, noted recently that American newspapers have lost 40 percent of their classified advertising over the past three years, largely attributed to sites such as Craigslist.

Print publications are hurting, yet, at the Catholic press convention, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, while telling us about the huge impact that system is having, admitted that it has yet to pay for itself. So it is with many Internet innovations.

Help fund independent Catholic journalism.
Donate now.

Years ago, there was a kind of collective inferiority complex among Catholic journalists. A friend of mine once asked me when I was going to work for a "real" newspaper. Now the special-interest press, while not immune, is perhaps weathering the current publishing storms better than the mainstream. Even the mighty New York Times is feeling threatened these days.

Many of the ideas talked about recently to save daily newspapers -- such as establishing them as non-profit corporations -- the Catholic press has done for decades. Not that everyone in the Catholic press is sanguine. Informal chats in Anaheim -- the best reason to attend such conventions -- put the future of print Catholic journalism in decades, if not shorter.

The hope is that something else will emerge. Print will be replaced by something which we are only now seeing, in St. Paul's words, as a faint reflection from a very foggy mirror.

Support independent reporting on important issues.

 One family graphic_2016_250x103.jpg

Show comments

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

Commenting is available during business hours, Central time, USA. Commenting is not available in the evenings, over weekends and on holidays. More details are available here. Comments are open on NCR's Facebook page.