July 23, 2005

Various Announcements

On July 5, I announced that Sollicitudo Rei Socialis would become a new weblog with a monthly format and various departments, and that this new weblog would be called "Joy and Hope." Since that time, we have discussed this change among ourselves and have come to the conclusion, for various reasons, that we will remain as we currently are with a few modifications.

As I mentioned, there were many reasons behind our decision to remain as we are. One of the biggest reasons is that changing to a monthly format would deprive us of the immediacy that's so wonderful about weblogs, which would deprive our readers of coverage which is current and expedient. Another reason is that we asked ourselves the question: What would make us different from Commonweal, the National Catholic Reporter, U.S. Catholic, and other periodicals? One major difference is that we would be devoted entirely to social justice, whereas the others are devoted to a number of different ecclesiastical and social issues. But the two primary differences that we came up with are these: 1) our content would be free; and 2) the other periodicals I've mentioned have greater resources to produce news in a periodical format. As many magazines and other media outlets are making a move toward the weblog format, we decided it doesn't make sense for us to be moving toward the periodical format.

We also came up with a number of other reasons, most of which involved practical considerations. The truth is that "Joy and Hope" just wasn't coming together -- and it's all for the better, because now we know that we should focus our energy on improving Sollicitudo Rei Socialis as it is instead of dramatically changing it.

As you can see, we've already taken steps to do just that. We've defined for our readers just what exactly Sollicitudo Rei Socialis means, and how to pronounce it. We've refined our mission statement so that it more accurately reflects what we're trying to accomplish with Sollicitudo Rei Socialis. We've taken the guest blogger idea from "Joy and Hope" and applied it to Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, hoping to have biweekly guests from diverse faith communities. In fact, we have already tentatively scheduled Chuck Currie, Rabbi Michael Lerner, and Starhawk for the coming months. We have joined the St. Blog's Parish and Reconciling Christian Bloggers webrings. We're also hoping to take steps to improve our public presence on the internet in the coming months, including: continuing to work with the Christian Alliance for Progress; letting the mainstream media know we're here; refining our focus to provide better content; and more.

As with any blog, though, the most important factor in improving public presence is the "word of mouth" factor. In order to make our presence known and felt in the Catholic blogosphere and in the religious/moral values debate, we need you, our readers, to help bring attention to what we're trying to do. Please consider linking to us on your own blogs: if you have a blogroll, add us; if you see a post here that interests you, blog about it. We've also added a trackback feature that will make it easier for us to share information with other bloggers. If you don't have a blog, there are still things you can do to help us improve our public presence. We've added an "e-mail this post" icon to each of our posts, which will make it quick and easy for you to e-mail a post that interests you to friends, family, co-workers, and other acquaintances. If you have a website, think about linking to us. Consider putting a link to our weblog in your e-mail signature; this could also be great if you visit message boards and web forums. If we're going to improve our public presence, it's really our readers who are going to make the difference -- we're counting on you.

As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, you know where to find us: srseditors@gmail.com. We value your advice, because quite frankly, we can't hope to make a difference in the religious/moral values debate without your help and support. Thanks, and God bless!