By Christopher White, The Tablet’s National Correspondent
DeSales Media Group announced on Tuesday that long-time editor of The Tablet, Ed Wilkinson, will take on an expanded role within the company beginning in June.
Wilkinson will be assisting DeSales’ Chief Operating Officer William Maier to focus on growing the newspaper’s subscription base and creating a permanent archives for the paper.
He will also develop an original program for NET-TV and will fill in as a guest host on the program, In The Arena. Wilkinson will continue to host his popular TV show On the Block and fill in for Anchor Liz Faublas on Currents News. Effective fall 2018, he will transition into a new role as editor emeritus of The Tablet.
“I’m looking forward to establishing a stronger foundation for The Tablet to go on into the future,” Wilkinson said.
“We want to build up the archival materials and create a photo database that needs to be organized,” he said. “We want to have a source of information that we can go back to so that we can better tell the story of the Church in the diocese of Brooklyn, which is what I’ve done for the past fifty years.”
Wilkinson’s storied career in journalism began in 1970 when he was hired as a cub reporter for The Tablet’s sports section. In 1981, he was promoted to news editor, and then in 1985, he was placed at the helm as editor.
During his more than four decades at the paper, Wilkinson has received numerous awards from the Catholic Press Association. In 2000, he served as chief brehon of the Great Irish Fair and in 2007, as grand marshal of the Bay Ridge Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.
Meeting the Pope
In 1995, Wilkinson met Pope John Paul II during his visit to New York, which Wilkinson recalls as a career highlight. Their meeting occurred after Wilkinson penned a column encouraging the pontiff to meet with the Catholic press while in the city.
Vito Formica, executive director of news content and development said, “Ed cares deeply about The Tablet and its future. I’m thrilled that he will still play a big role in the production of the paper and he’ll also be able to get out from behind his desk more often and connect with the community.”
Wilkinson will work closely with Maier in this new capacity and said that the work ahead of him is essential to preserving the history of the diocese and leading it into the future.
“We’re hoping to look at new places to find our subscribers. We want to get the newly married couples and families that have kids in Catholic schools and in religious education, and some of the people that might not ordinarily wind up on parish lists. We want to find these people, and identify them, and invite them to become readers of The Tablet,” said Wilkinson.
Maier said, “I have a great deal of respect for Ed. I’ve been talking with him about these plans for a while, and now I’m eager to get started on it with him.”
Wilkinson said that he sees his new role in the company as a way in which he can help encourage more Catholics within the diocese to care about what’s happening in their own backyards.
“There are a million and a half people in this diocese and there are just a lot of them that don’t show up on lists,” he said. “We want to invite them to become subscribers so that we have a more active and more complete picture of who the people are in this diocese.”
DeSales Media Group’s CEO Arthur Dignam said, “Monsignor Kieran Harrington (Chairman and President of DeSales Media Group) and I are thrilled Ed will be taking on these new challenges and are pleased with the exciting directions our news operation will be heading.”
Formica said that Jorge Dominguez, editor of Nuestra Voz, will join The Tablet’s team as acting assistant editor, and staff writer Marie Elena Giossi will become acting managing editor.
“It’s an honor to work with Ed each day,” said Formica. “His solid experience as a journalist, his extensive knowledge of the diocese and the church, and his strong leadership are all great assets to our organization and the diocese.”