Catholic News Service has a new leader, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced Wednesday.
Greg Erlandson, former president and publisher of Our Sunday Visitor, has been appointed director and editor-in-chief, a post he begins on Sept. 12.
“CNS is one of the gifts of the U.S. church to the rest of the Catholic world,” he said in an email to Catholic News Service. “It is an honor to follow in the footsteps of so many great directors of the news service, and I am humbled by the opportunity to join our colleagues at the bishops’ conference in serving our fellow Catholics.”
“Catholic News Service has for decades been the backbone of the Catholic press,” he continued. “It has enabled diocesan media to have a dependable source of national and international news, of great columnists and great features. It has also provided timely and trustworthy reporting to a wide variety of Catholic publications and organizations as well as to bishops and communicators around the world.”
CNS describes itself as the “oldest and largest news wire service specializing in reporting on religion,” and consists of a staff of 25 journalists and about 12 stringers placed around the world, according to a statement from the U.S.C.C.B. The organization is part of the bishops’ conference, though it is financially self-supporting.
Erlandson’s appointment comes about three months after the former head of CNS was forced to step down because of a series of Tweets the U.S.C.C.B. found objectionable.
In April, facing pressure from Catholic watchdog groups over comments about so-called bathroom bills affecting the L.G.B.T. community, long time director and editor-in-chief Tony Spence was told by Msgr. Brian Bransfield, secretary general of the U.S.C.C.B., that the conference had lost confidence in his ability to lead. Spence was asked to step down from the post he had held since 2004, during which he won the Catholic Press Association's St. Francis de Sales Award.
Erlandson, 62, spent 27 years with the Indiana-based Our Sunday Visitor, where he began as an editor in 1989 before being named president and publisher in 2000. Before that, her worked for C.N.S. for three years, including stints in the D.C. and Rome offices. Earlier in his career, he was editor of the National Catholic Register.
He served as president of Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada from 2011 to 2013 and continued on the organization’s board after his term.
Speaking at a panel at Georgetown University in 2014, Erlandson said Catholic journalism is one of the best ways to educate adults about their faith.
“Catholic journalism and Catholic periodicals are really the only widespread adult faith formation tool in the country,” Erlandson said. “The real issue we’re facing is how do we educate Catholic adults.”
In June, he received the Bishop John England Award from the C.P.A. during the Catholic Media Conference in St. Louis. Last February, he was inducted into the Association of Catholic Publishers Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement. In 2015, he received the St. Francis de Sales Award, the C.P.A.’s highest honor.
Material from the Catholic News Service was used in this report.