The changes at Church Resources in September 2016 included the withdrawal from management of CathNews, and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s subsequent divestment of the Church Resources operation heralded the changes for CathNews.
During a thorough consultation process, three options were considered: ceasing publication; outsourcing to an external contractor; and finally, transferring operations to the ACBC Communications Office, with the latter option being accepted by the Bishops across Australia.
CathNews is now managed in collaboration with a new external advisory board that has been established to provide oversight of the publication, under the governance of the ACBC’s Bishops Commission for Administration and Information.
The board members who will serve a term of three years are: Australian Catholic University’s Research Ethics Manager, Susanna Gorman; Archdiocese of Perth Communications Manager, Jamie O’Brien; Australian Catholic Media Council Chair, Debra Vermeer; Good Samaritan Sister, Patty Fawkner; and Financial Administrator of the Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn, Helen Delahunty.
At its first meeting in May, Ms Gorman was elected Chair and Mr O’Brien, Deputy Chair.
Each morning, the news aggregation service is distributed to 13,000 subscribers by email free of charge, providing a mix of news and features about, and of interest to, the Catholic Church and its members.
“Its purpose is to inform and connect,” said Ms Gorman. “It helps people in the Catholic community feel part of what’s going on.
“CathNews is more than a simple collation of news about Catholicism,” she said. “It is a well-loved feature on the Australian faith-based news landscape.
“And so, the challenge of providing fresh news without readers having to pay for it, while remaining balanced in news coverage and efficiently managing operational costs are the primary tasks at hand.”
As its first priority, the Editorial Board has reviewed the current editorial guidelines and style guide for CathNews, which will be delivered to the Bishops Commission for Administration and Information for approval.
The Board will also be responsible for establishing an appropriate editorial complaints handling procedure to manage responses on behalf of the publisher, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.