In lieu of my usual Sunday column on whatever happens to be in the news, this week I’m penning an open letter to Crux readers. I’ll go on at slightly greater length below, but here’s the two-word bottom line: “Thank you!”
First of all, May was a blockbuster month for Crux in terms of online traffic. Our numbers were a third higher than they’ve ever been, building on what’s been a consistent upward trend since we became independent in 2016. At a time when other publishers are wringing their hands over declining readership and shrinking newsroom staffs, our numbers are up – way up – and our small team has grown.
Those two things aren’t unrelated. In addition to my usual fare and the best-in-the-business Vatican coverage always delivered by Inés San Martín, we’ve added the eagle-eye news sense of managing editor Charles Collins, the groundbreaking reporting of national correspondent Chris White, and the simply stunning writing of our faith and culture correspondent Claire Giangravè. Readers are responding, and together, our merry band consistently offers the very best in smart, wired and independent Catholic journalism.
We’re not done growing, which brings me to my second note of gratitude: This week we wrapped up our first-ever “Support Crux” push, and, although the results exceeded expectations, we’re always going to need your help.
Though the campaign may be over for this year, you can always support Crux at any time by visiting this page. If you like what you find on the site, this is the best way to keep it coming.
By now, I’ve tried to thank personally everyone who contributed, though for technical reasons we don’t get the email addresses of people who made a onetime payment by credit card – so if you’re one of them, know that I am grateful.
I’m also thrilled to announce that Crux is entering into a deeper relationship with Angelus News, the multimedia platform for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, led by my old friend David Scott, now the vice chancellor for communications in L.A. (Neither he nor I would be comfortable acknowledging just how long we’ve known each other.)
Under the agreement, Angelus will supply original reporting and other content for use on Crux as well as support for Crux’s social media operations. We’ll deliver original work for use in Angelus, for which they’ll compensate us. The arrangement is editorial in nature only, meaning both Crux and Angelus retain their full independence, journalistically and financially.
Here’s what Scott was gracious enough to say about it.
“We admire and share John Allen’s vision for a Catholic journalism that is smart, independent and free of ideology and bias,” he said. “We are honored to be able to offer Angelus readers exclusive original reporting on the global Church every week from John and his collaborators, including such fine writers as Inés San Martín, Christopher White, and Claire Giangravé.”
Taken together, what all these positive developments mean is that Crux is getting bigger and better. In coming months, here’s some of what you can expect:
- Next week, San Martín and I will be on the Nineveh Plains in Iraq and Kurdistan, covering the on-going saga of Christian efforts to recover from the devastating genocide they suffered at the hands of the Islamic State. We’re going with the support of Aid to the Church in Need, a papal foundation supporting persecuted Christians around the world.
- White’s going to be on the papal plane to cover Francis’s June 21 trip to Geneva to visit the World Council of Churches, an important moment for efforts for greater Christian unity. He’ll be covering the trip for us and also our great friends at De Sales Media Group in the Diocese of Brooklyn.
- On June 29, all four of us will be in Rome to cover the consistory in which Pope Francis will create 14 new cardinals, including 11 new cardinals under 80 and thus eligible to vote for the next pope. A consistory is a bit like Oscars Night, in that all the Church’s stars come out to shine, and we’ll deliver everything you need to know.
- In August, we’ll be all over the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland, including the visit of Pope Francis at the end. The week before the event, San Martín, Giangravè and I will be in Belfast to take the temperature of Northern Ireland, and then White will join us in Dublin for all-hands-on-deck, round-the-clock coverage – ideally with San Martín on the papal plane, though the Vatican hasn’t started that procedure yet. From interviews with major newsmakers to the in-the-trenches perspectives of ordinary families from around the world, you’ll find it all on Crux.
- In September, Pope Francis will be visiting the Balkan states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, and once again we’re planning on having San Martín travelling with the pontiff. We’ll also have all the context and background you’ll need to make sense of what Francis is saying and doing.
- In October, we’ll have saturation coverage of the Synod of Bishops on youth and vocational discernment, expected to be the fall’s biggest Vatican storyline. Our team will be on the ground from start to finish, paying attention not only to the voices of the bishops and other participants inside the synod hall but also to those of youth from around the world outside it.
None of that reporting comes cheap. It’s possible only because of support from our sponsors, advertisers and readers, and we’re infinitely grateful. Your support lays the foundation for everything we do, day in and day out, it’s also helping us ensure that Crux reaches even larger audiences and scales new heights.
To return to where I began, this is a great time for Crux, and it’s because of your interest and support. So, once more with feeling, thanks!