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Catholic media nourishes faith: survey

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The first comprehensive survey of people’s experience of the Catholic media landscape in Australia has revealed that users value Catholic media for the different perspective it provides and, in most cases, it has played a role in their personal faith development.

The Australian Catholic Media User Survey was conducted online by the Australian Catholic Media Council (ACMC) and received more than 1000 responses from people who, in the main, are highly engaged with Church life.

ACMC chair Debra Vermeer said when it came to what kinds of Catholic media people were using, the “humble parish newsletter was the big winner”, with 78 per cent of respondents saying they use it.

This was followed by websites (59 per cent), email newsletters (54 per cent), Facebook (44 per cent) and then print newspapers (39 per cent) and print magazines (38 per cent).

The survey showed people primarily value their Catholic media because it gives a Catholic perspective (67 per cent) and it provides local community/diocesan news (60 per cent).

Most said they find it spiritually nourishing (62 per cent) and almost 70 per cent of respondents said it provides something that they don’t get elsewhere in Church life.

Most said it had played a part in their personal faith development and the majority of respondents said the Australian Catholic media played a significant role in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.

In terms of opportunities for growth, respondents were seeking more open debate and analysis (53 per cent) in Catholic media and there was a thirst for more spirituality (48 per cent).

“The survey provided strong affirmation for the place of Catholic media in people’s lives and in the life of the Church,” Mrs Vermeer said.

“It found that Catholic media both informs with a uniquely Catholic perspective and nourishes in faith life.

“Importantly, many people said it provides a broader perspective on faith life than is available through the parish and thus connects people to the bigger faith community, whether at a diocesan, national or global level.”

The ACMC will use the results of the survey to form advice for the Australian Bishops, including a proposal to establish a central listing of Catholic media outlets, as well as promoting regular opportunities for further professional development for those working in Catholic media.

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