Of Many Things
For 107 years America magazine has led the conversation about faith and culture in the United States. Thanks be to God, the decisions we have made in recent months will allow America to continue to prosper, well into this century and beyond. After several years of discernment and planning, I am pleased to report that in 2017 we will realize the greatest transformation of this ministry since the 1960s.
First, we will completely redesign and relaunch our print and digital products, giving them a fresh look and feel while preserving their historic voice: the smart, Catholic take on faith and culture you rely upon. Second, we are recruiting a new stable of writers and contributors, emerging Catholic voices who will lead the conversation in the decades ahead. At the same time, we will continue to provide the award-winning analysis and opinion that have been the hallmark of our work.
Third, America Media will move to a new state-of-the-art $3 million headquarters in Manhattan, one better suited to a 21st-century multiplatform media ministry. This project has been made possible by the successful sale of our current headquarters building in New York, the proceeds from which have established a sizable fund to support our future operations.
Most important, we have decided that starting in January 2017, we will reduce the number of annual issues of America in print from the current 39 to 26. You will also receive biannual print supplements of the new America Review of Books. I have directed our business department to extend the subscriptions of all our current subscribers for six months to honor the investment you have already made in America.
Why are we making this change in print frequency? This change is not the result of commercial or financial pressures. Thanks to the foresight of our forebears and the generosity of current readers and benefactors like you, America has a sizable operating fund. And we are not making this change because we no longer believe in print. We deeply believe in the singular power of print. We will not stop printing America magazine. But it will arrive in your mailbox less often and here is why.
First, America has not been a true weekly magazine for many years. During the major Christian holidays and during the summer, we publish in print every other week. So this is not a switch from a weekly to a biweekly schedule but rather a reduction in the total number of print issues evenly spread across the year. We have, moreover, heard from many of our readers that, while you cherish the content we provide in print, it can be hard to keep up with the amount of material owing to the demands of modern life. Second, while America Media now publishes most weeks in print, we publish every day online and every hour on social media. The vast majority of our content is now published first and primarily in digital format. In 1909, the Jesuit founders of America chose to print a weekly magazine because that was the best way to reach a new generation of Catholics. We believe that the best way to reach the current new generation of Catholics, without abandoning our older readers, is to print fewer but longer and, most important, even better issues in print.
When the Jesuits appointed me editor in chief four years ago, they charged me with transforming America into a 21st-century media ministry while preserving its unique and excellent voice. I asked then for your guidance and your support. I am deeply grateful for your generous response. We could not do this work without you, simply because we do it for you. I believe that the coming changes will provide you, the reader, with an even better experience, one that will continue to nourish your minds and hearts.
From my heart, thank you. Now, on to 2017 and beyond—for the greater glory of God!