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Diving deep into digital media

The Denver Catholic’s new masthead, as displayed in a test-run mock-up.

The Archdiocese of Denver has announced an old name and a new design for its print publication, the Denver Catholic Register, as it prepares to “dive into the deep end of digital communications,” the newspaper’s general manager Karna Swanson said.

Effective January 2015, the Denver Catholic Register will be re-launched as Denver Catholic with a fresh new look. While the move reflects a strategy that looks to the future, it also reflects the past.

“We are going back to our roots,” explained Swanson, who also serves as director of communication for the archdiocese. “It’s a tribute to the paper’s legacy, providing a continuation of all that the Register has contributed to the life of the archdiocese, while making a bold statement about where we want to go in the future.”

When established on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1900, the original name of the print publication was the Denver Catholic. It was changed to the Denver Catholic Register in 1905.

It was in 1927 that Msgr. Matthew Smith, then editor of the Denver Catholic Register, founded the Register System of Newspapers in a successful effort to save the struggling publication. His innovative approach not only allowed the local Register to thrive, but he created a nationwide system of Catholic newspapers that spanned 35 dioceses, and established a national edition, the National Catholic Register, that is still in existence today.

“Just as Msgr. Smith saw the need to claim print media to proclaim the good news, so today we have to find a way to claim digital media for the new evangelization,” Swanson said. “The good news has never been needed more. With God’s grace, we plan to boldly serve the Gospel far into the future.”

The Office of Communications currently manages the Register, as well as a Spanish newspaper El Pueblo Católico, three websites, social media outlets, weekly e-newsletters, televised Mass, live-streamed events and TeleForum phone calls. The new name is just one step in a communication strategy that seeks to put digital communication in the forefront.

Denver Catholic will still be our print publication, and it will still be sent free of charge to the Catholics of northern Colorado, but it will be just one tool of a larger strategy that seeks to convert our office from a print-first communications strategy to a digital-first strategy,” Swanson said.

Months in the works, the new design—spearheaded by Swanson and David Hazen, associate director of communications—was brought to life by current Register production and design manager Filippo Piccone. The updated version will feature a more appealing magazine-style layout, as well as content enhancements including more feature stories, and the use of more photos for visual storytelling.

In addition to the new design, the publication will begin arriving in some homes in the metro area on Saturdays. The first issue of 2015 will begin arriving in households the week of January 17. The last issue published under the name Denver Catholic Register will begin arriving in homes Dec. 24.

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