Catholic Press Month: Meaning in a world of too much info Print
Friday, 31 January 2014 13:19

“Too much information” is a protest we’ve all heard and made when overwhelmed with knowledge we didn’t feel we needed to know.



Yet in our electronic, digital age, we are often faced with “too much information.” It is possible to sit at the computer for hours, going through various websites, blogs, and other sources. Even if the information is accurate, which might not even be a safe assumption, how does anyone absorb all of that and make sense of it?


That is one powerful argument for a diocesan newspaper like The Catholic Exponent. The Exponent reports on the whole world – as  near as Ashtabula,  Niles, Ravenna, Canton, Massillon, Salem, and Brier Hill on the north side of Youngstown, and as far as Washington, D.C., Jerusalem, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Rome.


Yet the Exponent, like other diocesan newspapers, does more than report the facts. The Exponent gives a perspective that enables the reader to make sense of this news – a perspective that goes beyond the dateline or even the time period in which the events are reported. A Catholic newspaper enables the reader to understand the news in the context of the Church’s millennia of knowledge and wisdom and the Gospel.


Virtually every Catholic newspaper is worth reading but there is a special advantage to a diocesan newspaper.


Traditionally, a newspaper is defined as having four functions: to inform the reader, to comment on the news, to entertain the reader, and to publish advertising.


A fifth function is to build community. It is no coincidence that the words, “community” and “communicate,” come from the same root word. For small towns and big cities, newspapers have always brought readers together by leading them to read the same news about their community, the same ball scores of their respective teams, the same writers who offer insights into the news and beyond.


For a diocesan newspaper, that purpose is especially important because it draws us to news that is local in the sense of our own six-county region, but which calls us to look beyond our own neighborhoods, cities, and counties to identify with others who make up our diocese.


With full respect to all other diocesan institutions and the valuable ministries they provide, is there any diocesan entity that can engage such a wide percentage of the diocesan community on a regular basis?


Of course, a diocesan newspaper, like other Catholic newspapers, also helps bring us into community and communion with the Universal Church, focusing on our identity with other Catholics – their joys, their struggles, their hopes, their concerns, and their everyday lives.


And though many secular newspapers do commendable work in raising issues of justice in the world, Catholic newspapers make it a priority in a way that most for-profit publications, however noble, cannot.


So as we happily carry out our duties informing you about the news of the diocese from Catholic school activities and parish features to diocesan events and issues, we ask for your continued help. Despite the economic and cultural challenges of publishing a newspaper today, the Exponent has persevered and held up as one of the largest diocesan newspapers in the state. We have done this in large measure through the support of our parishes, our pastors, our loyal readers, and advertisers who recognize our value commercially, journalistically, and spiritually.


Yet, we hope to do more. We are constantly evaluating ourselves to find ways to better inform readers and serve our people. We hope to reach more people and to garner the resources to offer more.


So we ask you to continue to support the Exponent but also to encourage others to subscribe or do whatever you can to make the paper (including our website, available to more readers.  If you have suggestions, criticisms, or simply something to say, write to us or call us. Suggestions are always welcome and often valuable, and letters to the editor make for lively reading. If you have a business we ask you consider investing in advertisements in our print and/or online editions, which can benefit your business as well as the people of the diocese.


We also ask for your prayers, because, as the psalmist wrote: “If God does not build the house, in vain do the masons toil.” That goes double for a newspaper.