You hold in your hands the product of a year’s worth of planning and design by the most dedicated team I know, who serve the most loyal readers in publishing. This is the new America, a fresh approach to the smart, Catholic take on faith and culture that has been our hallmark since 1909. Within these pages, you’ll discover a media ministry that has been reimagined for the 21st century. Yet as we take this bold step forward, our true north is the mission articulated by our founding editors: to lead the conversation about faith and culture in the United States; to furnish “a record of Catholic achievement and a defense of Catholic doctrine, built up by skillful hands in every region of the globe.”
The first editor in chief, John Wynne, S.J., told his readers in America’s debut issue that “until such time as a daily may be possible” the Jesuits would publish a weekly review. Thanks to the digital revolution, Father Wynne’s vision has been realized: In addition to our new biweekly print edition, Americanow publishes daily, even hourly, online and through social media.
It is no easy task to relaunch a magazine, and the “skillful hands” that have labored for countless hours to reach this milestone are too numerous to name. The lion’s share of the credit, of course, goes to the talented team of professionals whose names grace our masthead. They are an inspiration to me and I am proud to introduce you to their work.
In this new issue, you will find some familiar features, given a fresh look and feel, as well as some innovative new departments:
Our Take is the new name for America’s editorial. As my predecessor Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J., liked to say, “a journal of opinion ought have an opinion of its own.” But we don’t want to be the only ones talking. That’s why in every issue you’ll also find the Short Take, an op-ed from a notable writer or public figure. This week’s Short Take comes from Elizabeth Bruenig of The Washington Post, one of a dozen new contributing writers we’ve recruited.
There’s also a section called Your Take, the place where we ask you to join the conversation by your letters, emails, Facebook posts and a new reader poll conducted online for every issue. Dispatches is our redesigned news and current events section with reporting and analysis from our global network of correspondents, all presented in a fresh and inviting design.
Faith in Focus is our section for theology and spirituality, featuring thoughtful essays and reflections by theologians, church leaders, public figures and inspiring people in the pews. In this issue, we feature an interview with the Jesuit priest who serves as chaplain to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Our feature articles are the heart of the new America. In the coming months we will bring you compelling new stories from the intersection of the church and the world, written by an outstanding slate of writers, many of whom you’ve not seen in America before. The current issue features an original report from Central America on the migrant crisis that is gripping the hemisphere, plus an inside report on how Pope Francis’ unique style of governance is changing the church.
In the back of the magazine you’ll find Ideas in Review, everything from book and multimedia reviews to profiles of outstanding authors and essays about cultural and social trends. This issue features an exclusive interview with the actor Andrew Garfield, who stars in “Silence,” the new film from Martin Scorsese about the Jesuits in 17th- century Japan.
The last page of the magazine is called Last Take. In each issue, a different newsmaker or journalist will offer a personal reflection on news and events. In her America magazine debut, the veteran journalist Cokie Roberts talks about women in the new U.S. Congress.
And of course, every issue will feature the Word column, reflections on the cycle of readings for every Sunday Mass.
Also, later this month we will relaunch our website, americamagazine.org. You’ll find it much easier to navigate and chock full of great new content and features, from additional essays and reporting to documentaries and interviews from America Films, as well as the weekly podcast of “America This Week” from SiriusXM radio.
And this is only the beginning. As we set forth into the future together, please know how deeply grateful we are for your loyalty and support. I promise you that we will work every day to earn anew the trust you place in us and, in the words of Father Wynne, “neither labor nor expense will be spared to make America worthy of its name.” Enjoy the issue. And, as always, please let us know what you think.