The Editor’s View: The Big Jump

The issue you’re holding marks the final print edition of Crisis Magazine. Last month, I explained our reasons for moving the publication entirely online. This month, I want to give you the rest of the story. You see, while it’s true that financial necessity forced our hand a bit, it’s also true that we’ve been talking about making this jump for the past three years.

The potential of the Internet dwarfs that of a print publication; that is simply beyond debate. For 25 years, the printed page has served us well. But technology is always advancing, and it brings with it new evangelical opportunities. For example, we end our print run with a paid circulation of 15,I53—a respectable number for a Catholic publication, especially in a declining market. But that figure will be easily surpassed our first week or two online. That’s the nature of the Internet: People who would never dream of paying to read Crisis may nevertheless be drawn to do so online, for free. If we really want to transform this culture, then these are the kinds of people we need to reach. Those who subscribe to Crisis already agree with the Catholic worldview; we need to persuade those who do not. The Web site will help us do that in a way that the print magazine never could.

Of course, InsideCatholic.com isn’t exclusively intended for those outside the fold. Our primary audience is you—the faithful Catholic trying to live his or her life in a sometimes helpful, sometimes hostile environment. For this reason, we want to make sure the site is as usable and user-friendly as possible. In designing Inside Catholic.com, we’ve included some unique features to help it be just that.

I don’t enjoy reading long articles online. I can handle a few columns, maybe a brief feature, but that’s about it. Given some of the feedback we’ve received since we made our announcement last month, I know that I’m not the only one. That’s why we’re particularly excited about a feature we call the Inside Digest. Here’s how it works: On every page of the Web site, you’ll find the Inside Digest button. Press it, and you’ll print out all the articles and columns from the past week, organized and collected into a single, readable digest (it will even have a Table of Contents). All you need to do is press the button and retrieve the digest a few minutes later from your printer. You can then put it in your bag, take it on the train, read it at night, whatever you want. With the Inside Digest, we’ll be able to bridge the gap between a print and an online publication.

We’re finding other ways to do that as well. While it’s a fairly work-intensive project, we will have the entire 25-year archive of Crisis Magazine on the Web site by the fall of 2008. That’s every past issue and article—all completely searchable and ready to print. And, of course, all of it will be completely free. This way, future generations can enjoy the treasures of Crisis‘s print edition.

But that’s not the only exciting feature you’ll discover at the new site. Our Catholic Advocate page will carry a list of the 10 best and worst Catholic politicians, determined by their voting records on the non-debatable life issues. Their scores— and the rankings they produce—will be updated regularly.

Of course, there’s a great deal more than that, but you’ll need to visit the site to see for yourself. On pages 32-33 of this issue, you’ll find a brief guide to the InsideCatholic.com home page. (The advertisement has dummy text, so no, the site will not be in Latin.) Have a look at the ad—but just a look. You’ll really need to visit the site yourself. I think you’re going to like what you find.

In the meantime, thank you sincerely for the friendship and loyalty you’ve shown Crisis Magazine. May it continue.

Brian Saint-Paul

By

Brian Saint-Paul was the editor and publisher of Crisis Magazine. He has a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Religious Studies from the Catholic University of America, in Washington. D.C. In addition to various positions in journalism and publishing, he has served as the associate director of a health research institute, a missionary, and a private school teacher. He lives with his wife in a historic Baltimore neighborhood, where he obsesses over Late Antiquity.

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