By Janelle C. Gergen/Editor, OND
For the past 73 years, through good times and challenging times, Our Northland Diocese (OND) newspaper has sought to publish Good News for strengthening and furthering the Reign of God in the Diocese of Crookston. Although printing processes have changed, and communication methods have diversified over time, the resolve to produce and deliver quality news to Catholic households comprising the 14 counties of northwest Minnesota has not wavered.
To assess how OND is fulfilling its mission, a widespread reader survey has been launched. The survey will be open during the months of February and March. It is desired that every person who receives the printed paper or reads OND news online would seriously consider offering comments – positive and negative – to aid the continuing evolution of this publication.
In 2017, OND diversified delivery with a web presence at www.crookston.org/ond. This URL is the digital home hosting local news, commentary columns and photo albums. The online content is shared across Facebook and Twitter with the handle @ONDiocese. These avenues of communication resulted from a stakeholder survey sent to diocesan clergy and parish staffers in 2016. Nearly 70 percent of respondents expressed the need for OND to expand its digital footprint. This transition means many local news stories are now published online before hitting mailboxes of diocesan households. Parishioners wanting to receive up-to-date local news or commentary in their email inbox have the option of signing up at www.crookston.org/subscribe.
Since 2014, the print version of OND has gone through a series of design updates. In August of that year, the masthead (logo header on the top of the front page), folio (subsequent page headings that include the publication title, date and page number), commentary headers and fonts were changed. The 2014 redesign was the most substantial update for OND in more than a decade. Another shift of the print aesthetic took place in August of 2017 with another new masthead, reorganized sections and the elimination of black-and-white only pages. In 2018, the cover layout underwent additional tweaking because of a change in mailing label location.
We want to know your level of satisfaction with the print design, individual commentary columns and how OND is living out its mission. We want to know how and when you prefer to get news from the Diocese of Crookston. Our digital metrics reveal engagement and growth of our web presence. For example, since August of 2017, OND’s website has received 23,348 page views and 128,600 people have been reached on Facebook. Within these numbers, we can see which local news stories and commentary columns are the most-read. However, we still desire quantitative and qualitative feedback from our readership regarding the entire package of services we provide, both print and digital.
As Editor, I will take the survey data under advisement with Bishop Hoeppner as Publisher, prepare a report for the annual Board of Directors meeting scheduled for April and present the findings to an OND Advisory Council who will meet this summer.
A link to the 2019 OND Reader Survey can be found at www.crookston.org/ondsurvey. It is 20 questions long and should only take a few minutes of your time. Your thoughts and comments are valuable to the work we are doing here at OND. Your feedback will help to discern the direction of this relied-upon channel of communication that we, as a staff, feel humbled to produce. It is a pleasure to connect each of you to your bishop, the diocesan ministries you support and the wider church family.