Looking forward to a year of opportunity and growth

This past year has been one of opportunity and growth for Our Sunday Visitor, which we’re looking forward to continuing in the year ahead.

Here’s a quick review of the highlights:

The newspaper’s parent company (called Our Sunday Visitor Publishing) acquired another publishing house, Harcourt Religion, now OSV Curriculum division. The first phase of integration — business software, computer networks, human resources plans, warehousing, etc. — is, after a herculean effort, complete. Now comes the challenge (with attendant opportunities) of integrating company cultures and sharing, as far as possible, creative resources.

Our Sunday Visitor’s Offering Envelopes division rebranded itself as OSV Offertory Solutions. It’s a recognition that parishes are looking for more than offering envelopes — we print something like 550 million of them a year, and for most Catholic parishes in the country — in promoting stewardship.

Here at the newsweekly, we’ve had some pretty significant accomplishments, too.

Toughest to miss is our “refreshed” design, which basically involves new, easier-to-read headline fonts, and a reworked “folio” containing the publication date and page number.

In addition to a couple of minor fixes of design inconsistencies that had crept in since our last redesign, we also created a new “culture” page for reviews of books, movies, music and theater. (You’ll find it toward the back of the paper the fourth Sunday of every month.)

The redesign coincided with our decision to take half an inch off the height of the paper. That saves us thousands of dollars per year in postage and paper, but, because of the smarter design, we don’t lose space for content.

Behind the scenes, we also went to completely new software used to produce the newsweekly. It’s helped us streamline the way we work.

I’m happy to report that feedback from you, the readers, was unanimously supportive of the redesign. That’s pretty unusual in the publishing world.

Our circulation is holding steady at about 50,000 copies. While I have to count that as a blessing (that makes us still the largest circulation national Catholic newspaper, and many papers have been much worse hit by this economic downturn), I know that to survive we need to grow. We’ll do our best in the coming year to make this paper an indispensable tool for you. You can help, too, by spreading the word about us. Thank you for your support!

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Also this week, don’t miss the start of a new series by talented writer and columnist Mary Eberstadt on the seven deadly sins. This week’s installment — on envy — can be found on Pages 14-15, and will be followed every other week by its brothers. Eberstadt will be exploring each of the “deadlies,” as she calls them, in light of current events or trends.