Editorial — 140 years and counting

Marnie McAllister

In mid-February 1879 the first issue of The Record, a monthly at the time, rolled off the press and into the homes of area Catholics.

A one-year subscription set subscribers back one dollar, an affordable sum, according to the paper. The lead story in that issue said, “One dollar in the entire year given for Christ’s sake ought not to be missed out of the little store even of the humblest household.”

Today, The Record publishes 50 issues a year and it’s sent to every registered household. Like the circulation model and The Record’s frequency, many things have changed in 140 years — the layout and size, the method of production, the paper’s leadership — including a laywoman at the helm.
But certain key things remain constant.

The Record was established, according to that first story, to “eventually become the organ of communication between the Right Reverend Bishop and the clergy and laity.”

This is still key to the Record’s mission. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz is the president of The Record and it provides a vehicle for his messages. In this week’s paper, you’ll find an official announcement about the latest priest appointments made by the archbishop and a page-one story about the priorities of Kentucky’s bishops during the next Kentucky General Assembly. Next week, the archbishop’s Christmas message will lead the paper. And throughout the year, the archbishop pens his column “Hope in the Lord” every other week or so.

The Record’s professional journalists — who annually win national and local journalism contests — also cover the latest news with truth and accuracy. We have a particular duty to highlight how the news of the day relates to the Catholic Church.

All this aims at one target — to communicate the good news of Jesus Christ to the people of Central Kentucky.

Our editorial policies explain, “The Record carries out this mission through a professionally produced newspaper that provides inspiration, information, and education to the people in the 24-counties of the Archdiocese of Louisville.

“The Record seeks to provide Catholics with the tools they need to make good decisions, to grow in their faith, and to carry out their baptismal calls to reach out to others in Christ’s name and renew the face of the earth.”

The Record’s staff takes this responsibility seriously. Sometimes that means our work encourages our readers in their faith and sometimes that means our work challenges our readers.

Every decade or so, we take stock of our work by commissioning a readership survey. The latest survey was conducted earlier this year and the results were presented to The Record’s editorial board last month.

We were pleased to learn that our readers overwhelmingly describe The Record as trustworthy, informative and relevant.
No higher praise can a news organization earn.

Horizon Insight, which conducted the survey, had this to say in its report:

“The Record is clearly seen as a trustworthy, informative and relevant publication that readers find helpful on any number of dimensions.”
The report goes on to note, “The Record remains a resilient and relevant print publication even in a digital age, which has proven generally unfriendly to the modern print media sector.”

The report does note one low point — our online readership has ample room for growth. If you haven’t followed us on Facebook or Twitter, please take a moment to find us and share the stories that interest you. We publish additional local photos, plus more national and international news on these platforms.

The Record staff intends to continue providing award-winning journalism for our readers for years to come. Please join us in our mission by reading regularly, sharing the good news and offering your feedback.

Marnie McAllister

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