Pictured is the logo for OSV News, a new Catholic news service launched in January by Our Sunday Visitor, an Indiana-based Catholic publishing house. Scott P. Richert, publisher of OSV, announced the launch on July 6, 2022, at the Catholic Media Conference in Portland, Oregon. (CNS Photo/Bob Roller)

PORTLAND, Ore. (CNS) — Scott Richert, publisher of Our Sunday Visitor, said July 6 that the Indiana-based Catholic publishing house will fill the void left by the January 2023 closure of Catholic News Service’s nationwide operations. with OSV News.

He made the announcement at the Catholic Media Conference in Portland and described the new venture as a new Catholic news service.

“The best is yet to come,” he told the group of Catholic reporters and communications officers in a brief announcement ahead of the afternoon keynote address at the annual conference from May 4-7. July from the Catholic Media Association.

Richert said that after the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops announced the closure of the CNS on May 4, effective at the end of the year, he and his colleagues asked “that the OSV should not do something, but what should the OSV do”.

“OSV News is the answer,” he said, adding that it would be a “new renaissance” in Catholic media.

Our Sunday Visitor, founded in 1912 in Huntington, Indiana, produces a weekly print newspaper, periodicals, books, parish resources and church envelopes for parishioners’ contributions to the church. The newspaper and its online site frequently publish CNS content as a customer of the news service.

A press release from OSV about its new venture said the company entered into talks with the USCCB following the announcement of CNS’s closure and “has entered into an agreement to acquire the rights to the platform that CNS uses to produce and distribute its content”, which will be on the same site. domain: catholicnews.com.

Richert told the Portland group, which included several CNS client subscriber editors from diocesan newspapers and national publications such as America magazine and the National Catholic Reporter, that if they signed up for OSV News before the end of the year, they would have a “seamless experience”. since it will be launched the day after CNS closes.

He also announced that OSV will acquire all digital archives owned by CNS, as well as rights to existing and future content from CNS Rome, which will remain open and operate independently of OSV. The CNS Rome office will provide content for free starting next year, the USCCB announced in May.

Scott P. Richert, publisher of Our Sunday Visitor, speaks July 6, 2022, at the Catholic Media Conference in Portland, Oregon. He announced on January 1, 2023, the launch of OSV News. (SNC Photo/Bob Roller)

“The CNS digital archives are of great importance, both historically and as background for Catholic journalists working today,” Richert said.

The press release said there would be a “rebranding and redesign of CatholicNews.com” but that “the tools CNS subscribers currently use will remain the same.”

He said he would provide national and international news, analysis, editorials, commentary and reporting and would also partner with the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication and Aleteia, a Catholic website.

Without giving details, the statement said it would “work closely with an extensive network of Catholic diocesan publications to syndicate their content through OSV News” and said subscription pricing would be announced in September.

Richert told the National Catholic Reporter that the OSV wanted to hire about 10 new employees and freelancers who would work remotely from various locations. He also said the service plans to provide content in Spanish.

An OSV editorial posted online July 6 read, “The Church in the United States needs a Catholic news agency trusted by the faithful. The church in the rest of the world needs national Catholic news from the United States.

He pointed out that the announcement of the closure of the national operations of the CNS “felt like the final nail in the coffin of dozens of diocesan publications, and perhaps also some national publications.”

“We couldn’t let that happen. For our own publication, with a few strategic hires and a slight change in content, Our Sunday Visitor could probably have survived in a post-CNS world. But there is more to the Catholic press than just one publication,” said the editorial, written by the OSV editorial board.

He stressed that OSV News would not only be the latest “product offering” from the publishing company, but would be a “concrete symbol of our commitment to working with our fellow Catholic press to bring about a new renaissance in the Catholic media – and a brighter future for the Catholic Church in the United States and beyond.

The day after Richert’s announcement, the CMA hosted a previously scheduled “CNS roundtable” to discuss the challenges and concerns of American Catholic publications with the closure of CNS, led by members of an ad hoc committee formed by the association following the announcement. that the domestic operations of the CNS would cease at the end of the year.

During the roundtable, members of the ad hoc committee noted that the session had been planned before the OSV was announced and that they wanted to hear feedback and suggestions from CMA members on how to go about it. forward without the national operation of the CNS.

Some questions were directed to Richert, who said OSV News will begin posting job openings this summer and expects to fill positions by September. He also said the news service will have no direct affiliation with the USCCB other than past negotiations over rights and access to CNS content and that he looked forward to continuing discussions with members of the Catholic Media Association.

Regarding potential political coverage, he said OSV News would cover all news important to the Catholic Church, noting that Washington politics would certainly fall into that category.

The panel discussion also focused on the impact of the loss of the CNS on all Catholic media and a frustration with what appeared to be the lack of consultation and synodality of the US bishops regarding the closure of the CNS. .

Some unanswered questions centered on how the bishops will see the importance of Catholic communication in the future and whether there will be other potential larger Catholic media outlets.

At a meeting of members of the Catholic Media Association that followed the roundtable, the future of Catholic journalism was once again on the table.

Peter Jesserer Smith, a reporter for the National Catholic Register, said the closures this year of CNS and Catholic New York, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of New York, should serve as a “big wake-up call” for members of the Catholic media. to examine the opportunities available to them and with the American bishops to reflect on “how to stop this trend”.