By Jane Favotto, Catholic Outlook, March 2017
In February 1998, Bishop Kevin Manning launched Catholic Outlook, a monthly newspaper for Catholics in the Diocese of Parramatta. Writing in the first issue, Bishop Manning said: “It gives me great joy to write my first letter to you in Catholic Outlook, an initiative which is close to my heart, for it gives me the opportunity to correspond regularly with you.”
The newspaper was designed as a channel of communication for Catholics in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains. Since it was launched, the publication has had two editors and 212 issues have been printed.
Bishop Manning appointed the diocesan communications manager, Eileen Prehn, as the paper’s first editor. With almost 40 years’ experience in publishing and media, Eileen relished the task of getting the new publication off the ground.
She was greatly assisted by designer Jacqui Callcut. Brian Parker was later engaged as advertising manager.
The original format was a 24-page tabloid newspaper. Most pages were printed in black and white, with only four pages in colour.
The content included communications from Bishop Manning on topics of interest, especially relating to the teachings of the Catholic Church, reports from diocesan ministries and agencies, and news from parishes and schools.
Eileen was the editor for the first 49 issues. Sadly, she died in May 2002 after a long battle with cancer.
In September 2002, Bishop Manning appointed me the editor and diocesan communications manager. Previously, I had been editor of the Broken Bay News and had 25 years’ experience in secular publishing and communications.
Over the decades, Catholic Outlook underwent a number of changes. Circulation increased to 40,500 copies distributed each month through 47 parishes and 86 Catholic schools.
With the 100th issue in February 2007, the publication’s format changed from a newspaper to a magazine. It was published in full colour with the cover featuring an eye-catching photo.
Bishop Anthony Fisher OP was a strong supporter of the publication. In addition to contributing the Bishop’s Letter in each edition, he had a keen interest in the breadth of editorial coverage.
Catholic Outlook has received a number of awards including: Best Feature Story for Eileen’s profile of Cardinal van Thuan, Most Improved Publication, Best Layout & Design – Magazines, Best Ecumenical/Interfaith Story, Best Original Photograph, and Best Social Justice Coverage.
In 2009, Catholic Outlook received the Bishop Philip Kennedy Memorial Award for Excellence – Magazines. This is the highest accolade awarded by the Australasian Catholic Press Association (ACPA) for magazine publishing.
It has been a privilege to have been the editor for 159 issues. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all those who support Catholic Outlook – both in readership and submission of stories and photos.
Production of the publication is a strong collaborative effort and would not have been possible without the support of the clergy, diocesan and parish staff, Catholic schools and those involved in many areas of ministry.
‘Quality control’ has been supervised by eagle-eyed proofreaders Bishop Manning, Mons Robert McGuckin until he was appointed Bishop of Toowoomba, Fr Chris de Souza VG and Fr Wim Hoekstra.
Over the years, the experienced and talented production team has included designers Chris Murray and Aphrodite Delaguiado and journalists Dan McAloon, Virginia Knight, Elizabeth McFarlane and Jordan Grantham. Each issue includes school news, which is co-ordinated by the Communications Unit at Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta.
Award-winning photographers include Hamilton Lund and Alphonsus Fok.
It would not have been possible to produce a large circulation publication (40,500 copies monthly) with high production values without the support of our loyal advertisers, many of whom have been with us since the first issue.
Since its launch in 1998, the publication has been printed by Rural Press, now part of Fairfax Media, and distributed by Kevin Stein at Greenjinx.
The March 2017 edition is the final issue to be produced in the printed format as Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv launches into the digital age. This issue will be published on Sunday 12 March.
The Diocese of Parramatta is also developing a new app and exploring other options that will allow you stay up-to-date with information from our Diocese, the Church in Australia and beyond. To keep up to date with the latest news and events, click here.
Jane Favotto, Editor, Catholic Outlook, October 2002 to March 2017.