National Catholic Register celebrates 90th anniversary

National Catholic Register 90 years in print. Courtesy of the National Catholic Register.
National Catholic Register 90 years in print. Courtesy of the National Catholic Register.

.- The National Catholic Register is turning 90 this year, an anniversary its editor-in-chief sees as a blessing, and an opportunity to move forward in service to the Church.

“The Register’s mission from its earliest days has been to inform and form our readers so that Catholics, through knowledge of the truth of Christ and his Church, might be inspired by faith and equipped to engage the culture around them,” said Jeanette DeMelo, editor-in-chief of the National Catholic Register.

“Our love of Christ and his Church drives us to continue this mission started back in 1927,” DeMelo told CNA.

One of the top online and print Catholic newspapers in the United States, the National Catholic Register was founded in 1927 by Msgr. Matthew Smith of the Archdiocese of Denver, with the mission of providing news through the lens of the Magisterium.

The paper was an outgrowth of the Archdiocese of Denver’s Register, which grew into the Register System of Newspapers, producing 35 diocesan editions, with a national and diocesan circulation which at its height reached 850,000 households.

The National Catholic Register’s first national issue was printed on Nov. 8, 1927.

“If you like a Catholic paper with snap, vigor, courage, here it is. If you like one that is easy to read, here it is. If you like one that will always be loyal to the Church and has no selfish axe to grind, here it is,” wrote Msgr. Smith in one of the paper’s first issues.

Decades after Msgr. Smith’s comments, DeMelo hopes their founder’s words still stand true.

“I hope that in our pages (both in print and online), Register readers find that at 90, we still have ‘snap, vigor and courage,’ as we take a ‘definite stand on stirring questions’ of the day,” DeMelo said.

The Register has an active online and print readership, producing daily online content and 26 print issues annually.

In June, the National Catholic Register was named this year’s “Newspaper of the Year” by the Catholic Press Association at the annual Catholic Media Conference in Quebec City, Canada.

“That’s a wonderful confirmation of what we do and strengthens us to keep at it,” DeMelo said of the award.

In 2011, EWTN Global Catholic Network acquired the National Catholic Register. In 2012, DeMelo was appointed the Register’s editor-in-chief.  

“I have long admired the work of the National Catholic Register. And I appreciate it even more since I became its publisher six years ago, because I get to see first-hand what goes into the product and the care the staff takes in presenting the news,” stated EWTN Chairman and CEO Michael Warsaw, who also is the Register’s publisher, in the Oct. 29 edition of the newspaper, which features special anniversary coverage.

“The Register has always relayed the news of the world through the lens of the Church, but also chronicles the personal stories of struggle, conversion and redemption, as exemplified by Christ’s sacrifice,” Warsaw continued.

Since EWTN’s acquisition of the National Catholic Register, the paper’s circulation has increased by 100 percent.

“That’s a figure that represents the paper’s highest circulation in 17 years,” DeMelo noted, adding that they have also expanded their digital platforms, where they reach their largest audiences via NCRegister.com, a weekly and daily e-newsletter and their Facebook page, which has a monthly reach of 1.8 million.

Looking ahead, DeMelo has some goals for the next decade.

“As I looked through our archives I realized they are in terrible shape,” she said. “We need to get them digitized soon. We should make our archives available to anyone so I hope we can accomplish that before we turn 100.”

On a broader scale, she also looks forward to increasing collaboration with EWTN entities worldwide.

“Being a part of a global network is a wonderful gift,” she said, “and as EWTN builds its news division, opportunities are bound to be not simply national but international, offering not only printed news and analysis, but a compelling and complementary mix of multimedia that strengthens our mission to form and inform readers in faith so they might engage in the world.”

Tags: Catholic News, EWTN, National Catholic Register