From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Decisions on "Monday Morning" and "THE NEWS" Postponed
04 May 1996 20:42:51
95371 Decisions on "Monday Morning" and "THE NEWS" Postponed
by Jerry L. Van Marter
LOUISVILLE, Ky.--The General Assembly Council (GAC), heeding the advice of
its Corporate and Administrative Services (CAS) Committee, has postponed
until at least its February meeting decisions on whether to suspend
publication of "Monday Morning" magazine and cease publication of the
tabloid newspaper, "THE NEWS of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)."
The recommendation to halt the two publications was made to CAS by GAC
associate director for communication Gary Luhr. He based his proposals on
reader surveys that indicated that less that a third of "Monday Morning"
readers would be willing to pay for the magazine, which most now receive
free, and that Presbyterian elders -- the target audience of "THE NEWS" --
are not very interested in receiving denominational news.
In making his recommendation, Luhr argued that the roughly $500,000
spent to publish "Monday Morning" and "THE NEWS" would be better spent on a
new publication that eventually will be targeted to every Presbyterian
household. Some funds would also be earmarked to increase distribution of
"NEWS BRIEFS," the weekly publication of the Presbyterian News Service.
"NEWS BRIEFS," distribution was recently quintupled -- to 15,000 -- in
order to send it to the pastor of every church in the denomination.
But CAS members reacted negatively to Luhr's proposals. Waving a copy
of the magazine in the air, David Greer of Omaha, Neb., said it "would be a
great loss for the church if Monday Morning' is eliminated." Greer read a
letter from his pastor emeritus pleading for "Monday Morning" to be
continued. "This magazine is the main contact point for many of our
clergy," Greer continued, "and the only means of feedback to the
denomination for most of them."
The Rev. Hugh Burroughs of Santa Monica, Calif., who chaired the GAC's
Communication Task Group, which created the Office of Communication a year
and a half ago, criticized the proposal for not including budgetary and
strategic rationales for the recommendations. "If the reasons for these
recommendations are financial, where are the numbers? If the reasons are
strategic, where is the comprehensive communication plan that backs them
up?" he asked.
Luhr said such information was available, but due to numerous concerns
that had been expressed since his proposals were sent to council members,
he now supported the referral of the matter to a seven-member task force
that would review the budget figures and strategic plan for the Office of
Communication and bring a report to the Feb. 21-25 meeting of the council.
The task force proposal, unanimously recommended to the council by the
CAS Committee, sailed through with no discussion or debate.
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 PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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