By now, many of you who receive The Tablet by mail have received renewal notices. For some, this is nothing new since you already are paid subscribers to the paper. Others have been getting it mailed to your home, courtesy of your pastor who has been paying the bill. This may be a revelation to some. Many time people have asked me who is paying for their paper.
We are undertaking the ambitious task of moving from a circulation plan that is sustained by the parishes of the diocese to one in which individual subscribers will pay for the cost of producing a weekly newspaper. We do not receive any subsidy from central diocesan funds.
This will mean changing a mindset that has been in place since the 1960s when many bishops in the country went to mandated parish circulation plans. It was simple. Bishops wanted its congregations to be educated in the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and the best way of doing that was through a healthy circulation of the weekly diocesan newspaper.
Today news is delivered in so many more different ways and we have stayed up to speed as the DeSales Media Group, the parent company of The Tablet, is active in TV, social media, and websites.
DeSales is also sophisticated in marketing and public relations. And we feel that we have the means and knowledge to tap into the hunger for good Catholic news and information to wean down the parish subscriptions lists. Of course, this will mean lower costs to the parishes that have been sustaining us for years. We are grateful to that.
We will be talking up individual subscriptions as the fall pastoral year approaches. I plan to meet with each deanery in Brooklyn and Queens to elaborate on how to bring down the parish subscribers and convert them to individual subscribers. As individual members of the parish sign up for a subscription, the parish’s quota will be adjusted to lower the cost to the parish.
It will take a little time and a lot of cooperation but we are convinced of the necessity for a strong Catholic Press and we know that we have a loyal following and that empowers us to undertake this ambitious project.
You will begin to see in the back of your churches colorful new Tablet distribution stands. Those who were used to picking up a free copy of The Tablet in the back of church will be asked to pay the $1 a copy cover price by dropping a buck in the slot that will be built into the stand. A team of Tablet Ambassadors will maintain these sites and make sure that the pastor receives the payment to offset the delivery of these bulk copies.
There was a time when we had a system of Tablet delivery boys and church step hawkers who would call out “Tablet, Tablet, get your Tablet. Ten cents a copy!” In fact, in some places, we may even try that again.
We need to maintain a healthy circulation so that we can continue to attract the almost $1 million in advertising that we currently bring in. I hope that you support our advertisers. In particular, check out our service pages before you call a plumber or handyman. Looking for a school for your child? Don’t make a choice without consulting our annual Catholic School editions. Searching for an apartment? See our real estate classified pages. When you do use one of our advertisers, make sure you tell them that you saw their ad in The Tablet.
We’ll keep you abreast of how our plan is doing with periodic updates. And when we stop by your parish, please say hello. We love the personal relationships we have with our readers.