From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Council Votes to Stop "The News," Eliminates

Date 04 May 1996 16:06:07


96095     Council Votes to Stop "The News," Eliminates  
                    "Monday Morning" Subsidies 
                      by Jerry L. Van Marter 
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--In a move designed to stretch the Presbyterian Church's 
communication budget as far and as effectively as possible, the General 
Assembly Council (GAC) has decided to discontinue publication of "THE NEWS 
of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)" and to make "Monday Morning" magazine 
     The money saved by those moves (approximately $330,000) will be used 
to beef up the other publications and services of the GAC's Office of 
Communication -- "NEWS BRIEFS," "Presbyterians Today," PresbyNet and 
     The Council's actions confirmed recommendations by its Presbyterian 
Publication Task Force, chaired by the Rev. Hugh Burroughs of Santa Monica, 
Calif.  The task force was formed last September after a move to cease both 
"THE NEWS" and "Monday Morning" was derailed by supporters of "Monday 
Morning," led by David Greer, a GAC and Corporate and Administrative 
Services (CAS) Committee member from Omaha. 
     When CAS received the task force recommendations Feb. 23, Greer said 
he was "very comfortable with the report, especially with regard to  Monday 
Morning.'" In response to Greer's question about how long "Monday Morning" 
can go if subscriptions and advertising do not cover its costs, GAC 
associate director for communication Gary Luhr said, "We have until the end 
of the year -- we have money budgeted for  Monday Morning' until the end of 
the year." 
     Luhr later told the Presbyterian News Service that promotional and 
marketing plans for subscribers and advertisers will be laid between now 
and mid-year, with a major push to enlist subscribers slated to coincide 
with the upcoming General Assembly. 
     "Monday Morning" currently has a circulation in excess of 20,000. 
Pastors serving congregations receive the magazine free of charge 
(historically paid for by the Office of the General Assembly).  Retired 
ministers also receive it free, with their subscriptions paid by the Board 
of Pensions. The pension board has been discussing whether it wants to 
continue that practice. 
     "THE NEWS" was begun in 1988 as a publication geared primarily to 
elders serving on session. Produced by the Presbyterian News Service, it 
has a current circulation of 140,000.  The eight-page newspaper, published 
eight times a year, never seemed to find an audience -- surveys conducted 
by the Research Services office in Louisville have shown very little 
interest in the publication by elders. 
     On the other hand, "NEWS BRIEFS," the weekly publication of the 
Presbyterian News Service, has received consistently high marks from 
readers, particularly since its circulation was expanded a year ago to 
include all pastors serving congregations.  "I hear nothing but positive 
comments about  NEWS BRIEFS,'" noted GAC and CAS member Diane Wheeler of 
Palmyra, N.Y.  "It would be nice if it could go to all session members."   
     The current circulation of "NEWS BRIEFS" is 15,000.  The Council asked 
for expanded circulation of the weekly, as money allows, to include 
associate pastors and clerks of session. 
     When "THE NEWS" ceases publication after its March issue, 
"Presbyterians Today" magazine will be augmented with special material 
designed for session members.  
     Responding to ongoing desires on the part of many church leaders for 
development of an "every household" publication, the Council instructed its 
Office of Communication to "seek additional input regarding an 
every-household publication from church leaders at various levels, 
determine how other denominations keep their members informed, evaluate the 
concept of an every-household publication in light of ... computer 
communcation in the PC(USA) and explore the feasibility of partnership 
communication with other church entities." 
     As a starting point the Council asked that a pilot project be set up 
to send "Presbyterians Today" free to member homes in three selected 
presbyteries for a year. 

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
  E-mail   Web page: 


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