Editor's Report

Catholic New York’s New App


Since we last published in print two weeks ago, Catholic New York has made some publishing news as our long-planned E-edition made its debut as an app on Apple’s Newsstand.

If that sentence doesn’t mean much to you, don’t be concerned. Please continue to enjoy Catholic New York newspaper the way you always have.

However, readers involved in the fast-moving world of mobile information, via iPhone or iPad, will want to pay attention to the rest of this column.

Since early this year, we’ve been working with Dirxion (pronounced direction), a Missouri-based digital publication provider, to navigate our emergence into some of the new realities of the publishing world.

Certainly this addition to Catholic New York’s menu is one many of you have already experienced through other newspapers or magazines, the majority of which are available in electronic formats. Frankly so are many Catholic Press publications.

Where Catholic New York has gone one step beyond what most, if not all, in the Catholic Press have been able to do thus far is to bring our print product to the Apple marketplace in digital form as a paid subscription offering. We haven’t found anyone else who’s done that, and we’re happy to be the first.

As I said, it’s taken a while to get to this point. We’ve been sending issue files to Dirxion since the beginning of the year, all the better to have an archives ready for searching. That’s one of the bells on the new system.

Advertising and Business Manager Matt Schiller has been leading the way by working directly with the vendor to make sure the project stays on target.

Associate Publisher Joe Zwilling, who has played a key role as we’ve taken the app from an idea to reality, said, “Catholic New York is already a leader, as the largest circulation Catholic newspaper in America and as winner of the first-place General Excellence Award from the Catholic Press Association for the past two years.”

The introduction of the Catholic New York app “makes it easier for people to have access to the finest in Catholic journalism,” he explained.

“It’s time for the Church to use all means of evangelizing through the media. This is another example how to do that in a modern, effective way.”

Working out the kinks with the developer of the app and gaining Apple’s approval has taken significant time. But we think the result is a product you’re going to like. It’s also one we can build upon.

Some of the features that should be well received are a table of contents that will jump to specific pages in the paper, live links to our website pages, an ability to crop and share pages from CNY’s pages with friends, bookmarks for saving stories for reading later and a calendar button for reviewing past issues.

The system also has capabilities of adding photos and videos to the existing pages.

The system offers a lot. We did have to pull back on a few features because they just weren’t ready for prime time yet. There are still a couple of issues to resolve but we didn’t want that to delay the opening.

For users of Android devices, we haven’t forgotten you. We plan to make the app ready to perform on Google Play.

A few new subscribers have already found us on their own, and many people have explored the app at Apple’s App Store. We invite you to do the same. Our app is free to download, and you may view the first five pages of each issue, through Cardinal Dolan’s column, at no charge. If you want to purchase a one-year subscription, the cost is $10.

We do plan to promote this new tool in parishes and other institutions of the archdiocese. It’s also a good tool of evangelization for younger folks who may not be as inclined to read a newspaper but might give it a try if it fits into their digital world.

About 75 percent of our circulation of 132,000 papers is currently mailed to individual homes, with the balance going to parishes in bulk bundles. We are planning to explore lessening the number of those bulk copies to reduce waste and to see if we can make our new app take off and reach new audiences.

The app adds to our growing menu of digital products, which now include our video-enhanced website (cny.org) and a Twitter feed (@Catholic_NY), which now reaches more than 1,100 followers.

Please give us some feedback on the new app. You may contact me at jwoods@cny.org.