The Catholic Universe Bulletin, which has served Catholics in the Diocese of Cleveland for 140 years, will cease publication of its print issue at an unspecified date in 2015.
Bishop Richard G. Lennon of Cleveland, in announcing the news Aug. 22, said he would begin exploring an alternative means of reaching Catholics in northeast Ohio.
“The profound changes in how people receive their information have had a great bearing on the effectiveness of a biweekly newspaper. Much like its secular counterparts, readership has declined and there is no indication suggesting that trend will reverse,” Bishop Lennon said in his statement.
He said he has asked a committee of laity, clergy and religious to suggest “an alternative that will not only serve our various Catholic audiences but also be financially viable as well.”
“This is all still in the planning stages. We don’t know what we’re going to be replacing it with,” said Joe Polito, the newspaper’s associate publisher and general manager. “Everything is going to be looked at prior to going into the new product, whatever that might be.”
The Catholic Universe Bulletin began in 1874 as a weekly newspaper, converting to biweekly publication in 1982. Circulation peaked at about 125,000 in the mid-1960s, but dwindled to today’s circulation of about 35,000.
The staff, which had 16 members in its Newspaper Guild bargaining unit a quarter-century ago, is down to six staffers and freelance contributors. Recently, the newspaper redesigned its website, CatholicUniverseBulletin.org, which is updated daily.