What’s in a Name? Quite a Lot, Actually


The following memo was written to then-Father Edwin F. O’Brien, the director of communications for the archdiocese, by Gerald M. Costello, the founding editor in chief of Catholic New York, on May 10, 1981, four months before the newspaper made its debut. Father O’Brien is now Cardinal O’Brien, grand master emeritus of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre and archbishop emeritus of Baltimore.

Now that we are getting closer to organizational status, a decision on the newspaper's name becomes more and more important. This is apparent not only for the very practical reasons of obtaining stationery, opening business accounts, etc., but because a great deal of curiosity exists about the name to be chosen. In almost every conversation in which the paper is discussed, the name is the subject of the first question I am asked. 

Of the names we have discussed, I favor The New York Catholic or Catholic New York. Each title makes clear the area we serve and implies our particular interest. This kind of geographical designation is important for a number of reasons, especially since as a new publication we will not have the recognition factor of a Pilot or Tablet. A national advertiser looking over a list of Catholic publications would certainly not want to omit from his consideration one which had "New York" as part of its title. 

The only argument I've heard against The New York Catholic is that it follows a pattern established by other Catholic newspapers, including those of the dioceses of Rockville Centre, Chicago, Raleigh and Houma-Thibodaux (which neatly got around that mouthful by calling itself The Bayou Catholic). I don't think the argument holds much weight. If the title works—as I think it will—the people here won't care a bit if it’s similar to those of other diocesan newspapers. Our primary concern will be that of serving our own archdiocesan community. 

While either title would do the job, of the two I prefer Catholic New York. I think it has something of a fresher sound to it; and probably comes closer to reflecting the newsmagazine approach we hope to develop in our coverage of the news.