A prominent Chicago minister dropped into the offices of Associated Church Press the other day. He told Alfred Klausler, ACP executive secretary, that his church board had voted to discontinue 350 subscriptions to the denominational paper. The usual reason given for such cancellations is disagreement with editorial policy. In this case, Klausler relates, “the members said they got their religious news via the Chicago dailies, Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News much faster and more thoroughly, and, possibly, reliably.”
“If this is true in Chicago, what about other urban centers?” Klausler asks.Regular readers of Christianity Today would be inclined to disagree. They get at least 5,000 words of interdenominational news coverage in each fortnightly issue. The magazine dispatches staff members or correspondents to more religious events in the United States and overseas than any other publication, religious or secular.
Whatever the merits of the complaints, the effects are being felt. Klausler reports that “both Catholic and Protestant religious press face circulation problems.” Indications are that religious journals may be in for a period of consolidation. Several major mergers have already been announced this year. The American Baptist News Service ceased publication April 1, except for news to the public media.
This week in Chicago, several hundred experts in religious communications are meeting to assess the impact of changing human attitudes. The event, the Religious Communications Congress, has as its theme “New Dimensions in a Secular Age.” Sponsors include more than forty organizations, among them the ACP, the Synagogue Council of America, the National Council of Churches, the ...1
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