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Old Jun 27, '04, 6:40 pm
Tarcisius Tarcisius is offline
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Join Date: June 1, 2004
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Default The Impending Demise of "Catholic Digest"?

There are two other threads about "Catholic Digest" at this site. (Use Search to find them.) Here is background information.

"Catholic Digest" once had a circulation around 600,000. Now it is down to 350,000, which is still larger than any other Catholic paid-subscription publication's circulation, but this represents a drop of 40%.

(In June 2001 it had a circulation of 500,000, which means a decline of 150,000 subscribers in three years.)

The magazine is owned by a French company, Bayard, Inc., which produces 110 different publications in 41 countries.

In 1999 Bayard purchased Twenty-Third Publications, which specializes in catechetical and pastoral publications. Twenty-Third's materials frequently are written up in the "National Catholic Reporter," which may say something about the company's editorial slant.

In December 2001 Bayard purchased "Catholic Digest." There followed a shakeup in the magazine's staff. Of the nine staff members profiled at the "Catholic Digest" web site, only two were on staff prior to the purchase by Bayard. Five were hired in 2002, and one was brought over from Twenty Third.

The most recent hire was the editor, Joop Koopman, who came on board in December 2003. Koopman was the editor of the "National Catholic Register" from 1993-1997, years when that weekly lost circulation, editorial focus, and cash. The newspaper was bought out by the Legionaries of Christ, who revamped it, changed the editoral staff, and made it into what many consider to be the top Catholic weekly.

Several years ago, before Koopman was hired, "Catholic Digest" raised eyebrows by featuring Mario Cuomo on its cover. This was the first indication to many readers that the magazine was changing its editorial positions. The change seems to have accelerated under Koopman. The current issues features a story on John Kerry.

"Catholic Digest's" own web site has a discussion forum where (at least for the moment) one may read comments from disgruntled readers:

"I've been a subscriber for more than 10 years, and I'm now going to let my subscription run out as well as 3 gift subscriptions that I've maintained for several years. I'm currently looking for a replacement to Catholic Digest and have posted a message on the forum asking for suggestions."

"I agree that the Catholic Digest has taken a turn for the worse. I will let my subscription run out. I actually wish they would just stop sending it. ... The cartoons are off-color. Enough already."

"With the recent noticeable, but unacknowledged, changes in the magazine ... I was at least happy to see that some forthrightness (if that is a word) came forth in the June issue, particularly an insert to subscribe to the magazine: The 'New' Catholic Digest. 'Upbeat, contemporary.' 'Welcoming, inclusive.' 'Celebrating the humanity in all of us.' 'More relevant.' And it seems extremely telling to me that Fr. [Andrew] Greeley is the Q&A person now."
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Old Jun 27, '04, 6:57 pm
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Bruised Reed Bruised Reed is offline
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Default Re: The Impending Demise of "Catholic Digest"?

I've thought "Reader's Digest" sounded more Catholic at times.

I know things get stale after awhile but I think they did away with many of the items that made the Catholic Digest familiar, like an old friend.

What they are probably losing are people like me who would rather read something trustworthy and not making up for it by gaining readers who would appreciate the new "slant". Also, it appears they are trying to be all things to all people by including articles from sources that are orthodox as well as "liberal" and I don't think that approach will work.
From the cross Jesus gave us his mother to be our own.

We need her, the one whom God chose to need.

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Old Jun 27, '04, 7:32 pm
Bud Stewart Bud Stewart is offline
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Default Re: The Impending Demise of "Catholic Digest"?

For a possible replacement to "Catholic Digest" you might want to check out "Crisis Magazine"

Try the archive section for some great articles. You sound very "well read" so I am sure you are already familiar with "Crisis". I am a relatively recent subscriber, but I am so impressed with this publication that I take every opportunity to recommend it.

Let me know what you think.
I long to accomplish a great and noble task; but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.
Helen Keller
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Old Jun 28, '04, 11:37 am
Elizabeth B. Elizabeth B. is offline
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Default Re: The Impending Demise of "Catholic Digest"?

I was really glad the the letters to the editor in this month's Catholic Digest included so many letters telling me how wonderful the magazine has become. I would never have guessed it from reading its contents.
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Old Jun 28, '04, 1:15 pm
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tee_eff_em tee_eff_em is offline
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Default Re: The Impending Demise of "Catholic Digest"?

I'm on record on another of the threads about asking the giver of my gift-subscription to "Catholic" Digest to allow it to lapse, most notably after they recommended the group "Call To Action" as a resource for people upset about the priest celibacy scandals.

The most annoying part of the process was that they sent the January issue with a big notice proclaiming "THIS IS YOUR LAST ISSUE -- DON'T FORGET TO RENEW YOUR SUBSCRIPTION" The news that it was my last issue did nothing but make me happy.

Then they sent the February issue, with the same warning.

After they sent the March issue, warning and all, I actually contacted the subscription department and made them promise to stop sending me "last" issues, as I really didn't want them.

Homestyle Catholic
Dominae dominique: Elvis ex aedificio exiit!
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Old Jun 28, '04, 5:47 pm
Br. Rich SFO Br. Rich SFO is offline
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Default Tarcisius

If you will Email me I will suggest the ones that I subscribe to. I tried to Email you but it would not let me.
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Old Jun 28, '04, 10:04 pm
Bonnie Bonnie is offline
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Default Re: The Impending Demise of "Catholic Digest"?

Catholic Digest is what I call a "white bread" publication - bland & no real substance. We dropped it quite a few years ago, then got a subscription to help out a young relative. It's worse than we remembered. We won't be continuing.
God bless,
Bonnie, OFS
Opportunity Farm
Northeast Washington

"While we have the opportunity, let us do good to all." Galatians 6:10

Catholic since '76!
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Old Jun 29, '04, 1:53 pm
*pro-life_teen* *pro-life_teen* is offline
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Angry Re: The Impending Demise of "Catholic Digest"?

I grew up reading Catholic Digest, and after reading that DISGUSTING article on John Kerry, I can say that I will just be reading back issues from now on.
"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish" -Mother Teresa
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Old Jun 29, '04, 4:46 pm
LauraL LauraL is offline
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Join Date: June 27, 2004
Posts: 173
Default Re: The Impending Demise of "Catholic Digest"?

After hearing for years what a wonderful magazine Catholic Digest was, I subscribed a year and a half ago, in part to support a school fund-raising effort. What a huge disappointment it has been! The Brits have a slang word, "twee," that just about covers it.

I'm also having trouble with their not recognizing that I did not renew my subscription. I wonder if they're still sending us the rag just so they can add our numbers to their monthly circulation stats!
Soli Deo Gloria --

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