Scottish Catholic journalism experiences a revival with new magazine

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The Scottish Catholic launch heralds a renaissance of Catholic journalistic integrity and ethics in Scotland, says Jason Osborne

The pandemic has wreaked havoc in all aspects of the Church and Church-related life, with Catholic media no different.

In Scotland, the combined hardships of the pandemic and the resulting restrictions have resulted in the venerable Scottish Catholic Observer, 135, being shut down. Founded in 1885, it was Scotland’s only national Catholic newspaper, covering events and stories internationally, nationally and locally. Suffice to say that his loss was a painful blow for the Catholic community in the country.

Integrity

However, October saw the rebirth, if not the Scottish Catholic Observer, a publication seeking to move forward in the same spirit of Catholic journalistic integrity. The Scottish Catholic was started in the skillful hands of former Scottish Catholic Observer editor-in-chief Ian Dunn and Mary and Dan McGinty of The Irish Voice, a mother-and-son team with both journalistic background and Catholic publishing.

Speaking to The Irish Catholic, Mr Dunn spoke of the “opportunity” they saw in the void left by the closure of the Scottish Catholic Observer.

“Myself and a few others, Mary McGinty and Dan McGinty, they are a mother-son team who have both been involved in the [Scottish Catholic] Observation days, and they also run a monthly newspaper / magazine for the Irish in Scotland called The Irish Voice, so they have the experience of launching something as it’s been around 10 years now, ”said Mr. Dunn to this journal.

“Obviously it’s a smaller thing, but they knew the inner workings of this sort of thing. So the three of us got together and said, “Well, maybe this is an opportunity”. At that point, we’re in the middle of a second lockdown, we don’t know what’s going on, but we were like, ‘Okay, let’s see if he’s an amateur’.

“So we started looking and seeing what people were looking for, we talked to the bishops, we talked to the priests, we talked to the Lord and his wife in a way. They really felt like there was a hunger, ”he says.

It takes a trustworthy, reliable voice that people will trust to tell them the truth.

The “hunger” among Catholics in Scotland is “simply” for journalistic integrity and Catholic ethics, says M. having “very American arguments”.

“There were good things in various dioceses and good people doing things, but without that local source of trust, a lot of it is American, a lot of it is from elsewhere, so we started to see people having American arguments, you know?

“A lot of this kind of ‘culture war’ stuff comes in waves that sound pretty poisonous, and that was something that really – we saw there was a real need for it. It takes a dignified voice. trusted, reliable, that people will trust to tell them the truth. But also just not to be savage. Don’t go out saying all kinds of crazy things, but have that journalistic integrity. Just that and Catholic ethics There is a need for this, ”said Dunn.

Consumer papers

In the heyday of the Scottish Catholic Observer, Dunn said “mainstream newspapers” regularly pick up their stories on weekends, and that is the kind of reporting he looks forward to returning to. Getting to the heart of the matter and telling people what no one else will do is “the heart of what you want to do” as a journalist, he says.

“I would always be a big believer that society needs journalists, we need journalists who can hold people to account. Who can tell you what’s really going on, who can weed out all the nonsense on Facebook and social media and tell it straight to you. Now as much as ever. Societies need it.

“Catholicism and journalism often seem to disagree, but fundamentally they have one thing in common, namely: journalism is, if it’s done right, finding out the truth, trying to get some kind of truth. , and I would be totally of the opinion that if you dig deep enough and look hard enough, you come up with some pretty basic truths and, ultimately, Catholic, ”he said.

There is going to be this balance… we are going to do this little news, it will be there, for sure, but at the same time, faith comes from the heart ”

By launching this magazine because they think it is ‘necessary’ in the Scottish landscape, Mr Dunn and his team are under no illusions that it will be easy, predicting a ‘roller coaster ride’ and a few “bumps” in the magazine’s first few months, but they are bolstered by a sense of need and knowing that they are “on the way to a winner”.

“We think we’ve got a good product, a good magazine, there’s going to be a lot of exciting things in there… it’s going to be a lot of grafting, but we’re excited to take on the challenge,” Mr. Dunn said.

Speaking a lot about the digging and research that is part of a journalist’s career, Mr. Dunn doesn’t overlook the softer side of the job – “unveiling” and “shining a light” on things and people that “are good. and deserve to be celebrated ”.

Faith

“There’s going to be that balance… we’re going to do this little news, it’s going to be there for sure, but at the same time, faith comes from the heart. A key aspect for us is to put Scottish Catholics at the heart of The Scottish Catholic.

“I mean, how many people in our parishes, in Ireland as well as in Scotland, are absolute heroes, going about their business quietly, just living righteous lives, you know? Telling some of these stories is really important to us.


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