Gregory Erlandson was introduced as the new president of the Catholic Press Association at the organization’s annual meeting in Pittsburgh from June 22 to 24, two weeks after his election.
“It’s a great honor to be elected, and it’s also a great responsibility. We are clearly at a time of great change with the media in general,” he told CNA in a June 21 interview.
Erlandson, also the president of Our Sunday Visitor, will serve as president for the press association for two years, beginning at the end of the Association’s Catholic Media Convention on June 24.
During the next two years, he hopes to develop new ways of connecting effectively with Catholics, and to “find new digital ways of reaching people” without neglecting traditional print publications.
“A lot of people look at print media,” he pointed out. “Part of the juggling act is not giving up on print media, as a powerful tool for faith formation, and also not ignoring or running away from how people are going to learn and communicate.”
Another challenge, he said, is in regaining the spirit of collaboration between the Catholic media and Church leadership.
“Especially as we’re moving into the 'Year of Evangelization,' we really need to restore that (collaboration). The mission has to be renewed,” he explained.
Readers have moved toward mobile and online technology in recent years, and Erlandson sees an opportunity for growth – both with tools such as the iPad and phone applications, and with traditional websites.
Those tools, he said, are “one possible road to the future,” even if it's not yet clear whether they represent the “evangelization of the future or auxiliary tools, or (part) of an arsenal of tools that a diocese or publishing company needs.”
A veteran journalist, Erlandson has reported on issues concerning the Catholic faith for 35 years. He was editor-in-chief of Our Sunday Visitor's book department as well as its editorial and design departments for eight years before becoming president and publisher in 2000.