Keeping it Current

Keeping it Current

Monthlies are notoriously slow, especially in the digital age, when everyone has access to publishing commentary and analysis instantly. That’s not a problem in much of our magazine. The inspirational stories, the profiles of amazing people, the seasonal features, and our many columns keep our content vibrant. But we like to stay close to current events, too. So we try, constantly, to anticipate the future.

What will be in the daily news three or four months from now that will interest you? What can we take the kind of long look at, that the daily or hourly media simply can’t? Or in the case of big, recent news events, how can we offer some type of wrap-up or overview, or how can we help our readers interpret the importance of events?

Such is the case with this month’s cover story about Pope Francis’ visit to the Holy Land in May. We—and select Catholic press worldwide—had the opportunity to go, courtesy of Israel’s tourism ministry. They wanted to demonstrate all of Israel as safe and interesting. They knew we would want to be in Jerusalem, close to the Holy Father, so they provided a way for us to do both. In addition to the papal story, in future months you’ll see a few stories sparked by the things we saw.

At the end of the day, we are able to report on an aspect of this story that, in the mainstream media, kept getting pushed aside in May by the critical, unsettled business of Israel and Palestine. That neglected story was the reason for the pope’s visit: to meet with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and demonstrate a heartfelt desire for Christian unity.

We editors met and talked about many ways to tell the story of the pope’s historic visit. Though there were a number of truly significant events, we settled on keeping our focus steady. It didn’t make the most news, and it’s not the jazziest of the possible stories, but the union of East and West is a huge issue in the Church, one that we Roman Catholics barely understand. Art Director Jeanne Kortekamp and I tried to infuse that story with the jazz of the pope’s trip, especially through photos.

Let us know how we did!

This blog was taken from John’s “Backstory” column in St. Anthony Messenger. To subscribe to this award-winning magazine, click here.

Photo: archideaphoto/


About the Author

John Feister is editor in chief of St. Anthony Messenger magazine. He has a B.A. in American Studies from University of Dayton, and master's degrees in Humanities and in Theology from Xavier University. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada, and was previously an adviser to the Communications Committee of the U.S. Catholic bishops (2000-2006). His latest book, Thank You, Sisters: Stories of Women Religious and How They Enrich Our Lives is available from the Franciscan Media catalog. He has cauthored four books with Richard Rohr (Franciscan Media), and coauthored, with Charlene Smith, the biography of Thea Bowman (Orbis books).