Webathon: PM Monday - and we need your donation

by Thomas C. Fox

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Monday afternoon on the first weekday of our Webathon. We need your help. It is vital, absolutely essential, to the work of providing the independent news, analysis and commentary you have grown to expect from the nation’s leading Catholic newspaper and Web site – www.ncronline.org.

Please take a moment, right now, and donate here to show your support for the online and print journalism NCR provides to the Catholic community. (We literally can’t do it without you: about twenty percent of our annual operating budget is made possible by gifts from readers just like you. More than ever we are in this together.)

Here’s the reality of modern publishing, both print and web: Opinions are cheap, shallow commentary everywhere. By contrast, the reporting, well-grounded analysis, and informed commentary NCR provides is expensive to produce.

Some examples:

  • There are many providers of “news” in the Catholic web world. Some (a small number really) actually get out and meet the people shaping the Church. Others opine, for all we know, while sitting pajama-clad in their basement “offices” – spinning stories and tales, the truth of which is, ahem, difficult to discern. At NCR, to cite just one example, we put one of the nation’s leading religion journalists, Tom Roberts, “on the road” – in diocese after diocese, parish after parish -- to report on the Church as it is lived and experienced daily. The result was award-winning journalism of the highest order.
  • This weekend you were reading reports from NCR Senior Correspondent John L. Allen. He is part of NCR’s team of correspondents and reporters, all respected by their secular peers. (“A brave little paper,” said the New York Times; “A leading religious newspaper,” according to Huffington Post; “respected,” according to Salon) because we not only take the time to get it right, but we have the expertise to set important stories in their proper context. Meanwhile, our colleagues in the Catholic press recognize what NCR is all about: We were recently named, for the eleventh year running, the Catholic press’ outstanding national newspaper.
  • Web-based blather or Insightful Commentary? Concerned and committed Catholics go to www.ncronline.org for the latter, including:

    1. Jamie L. Manson’s regular feature, “Grace on the Margins,” which earned her a first prize Catholic Press Association award for Best Column/Regular Commentary in 2010. Her latest, “We may need a Hero More than we need a Saint” is well-worth the read.

    2. Melissa Musick Nussbaum offers a unique perspective on parish and family life, so filled with love and knowledge for the church that her occasional criticisms are those of a familiar family member – aware of the institution’s foibles as well as its virtues.

    3. Where else to read Fr. Richard McBrien? In an era where fewer and fewer Catholic publications can withstand the criticism that breads controversy, NCR proudly publishes the insights of one of the nation’s leading Catholic thinkers.

    4. And, of course, the inestimable insights of Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister. Sr. Joan’s contributions to the Church, not least through her regular contributions to NCR, are a continuing voice for those who seek a more just society and a more accountable Church.

    5. And there is more: Phyllis Zagano, Eugene Kennedy, Jesuit Father John Dear, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Heidi Schlumpf – leading voices of American Catholicism in the nation’s leading Catholic publication.

  • Meanwhile, thanks to support from last year’s Webathon, we were able to launch our web-exclusive “Distinctly Catholic (DC).” Here, the provocative and insightful Michael Sean Winters blogs three, four, five (sometimes six) times daily on the politics of the nation, the politics of the church, and the intersection of the two.
  • NCR’s “Morning Briefing” – a list of links to Catholic news of the previous 24 hours – is a must read for the busy Catholic who needs to be informed first thing in the a.m. even as our daily blog -- NCR Today-- keeps readers current through the day on the breaking news of the church.
  • Our NCR Book Club keeps you up on the big ideas and trends in the Church. The latest offering, a review of George Weigel’s most recent biography of John Paul II by Michael Baxter, can be found here: .
  • Meanwhile, the NCR electronic archives put thousands of stories over more than a decade right at your finger tips.
Please donate to the Webathon by clicking on this link.

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