WASHINGTON (February 12, 1998) -- The U.S. Bishops launched their new strategic plan for communications with a reorganization of the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
In addition, they implemented a media training program for bishops and their communications staffs.
The Bishops approved "The Strategic Plan for Conference Communications" in November and the U.S. Catholic Conference (USCC) Committee for Communications began its implementation at a January 13-15 meeting in Washington.
The USCC Committee for Communications, chaired by Bishop Robert N. Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida, is presently forming a CCC Advisory Board which will replace the previous subcommittees on the CCC and Planning. Bishop Lynch has asked Bishop Joseph A. Galante of Beaumont, Texas, to chair the board, which includes subcommittees for development, production and distribution. Bishop Galante had chaired the Subcommittee on Planning.
The plan follows a two-year study of the Bishops' communications needs and interests. The study was called for when the Bishops voted to suspend operations of the Catholic Telecommunications Network of America (CTNA).
Under the reorganization, the CCC operations will be overseen by Msgr. Francis J. Maniscalco, director of the USCC Department of Communications. The present CCC staff will oversee the areas of development, distribution and production.
Ramón E. Rodriguez will supervise the implementation of the strategic plan's recommendations for increased financial support for the CCC. As director of development, he will also oversee diocesan relations programs, including the CCC's Proclaim newsletter and the Proclaim Awards.
Mr. Rodriguez joined the CCC in 1989. Prior to that he was a field representative in the Bishops' Campaign for Human Development.
Patricia Ryan Garcia will supervise distribution and promotion of CCC media projects. As director of distribution, she will also oversee the CCC public service campaigns and the toll-free movie review line. Ms. Garcia joined the CCC in 1990. Prior to that she was marketing director for WABC Radio in New York City.
Ellen McCloskey will be responsible for the research, development and production of programming for multimedia use. As director of production, she will also oversee the CCC's support of projects related to developing nations, press and Hispanic interests. Ms. McCloskey joined the CCC in 1989. Prior to that she was manager of communications for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and before that Director of Communications for the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia.
The strategic plan calls for CCC basic funding to continue to be provided by the CCC annual national collection, but recommends expansion of funding sources. As further funding develops, it will provide for increases in staff and continued development of TV, radio and Internet programs. The plan's recommendations include eventually opening Conference communications offices in New York and on the West Coast.
It also recommends provision of a media training program for Church leaders and continuation of successful CCC media projects, including the toll-free Movie Review Line, nationally broadcast television documentaries and multimedia public service campaigns.
With its new design, the CCC is to function as a national/local/independent coalition that will build on current successful media activities. The centerpiece of the initiative will be the creation, production, promotion, and distribution of top quality, name-branded programs for multimedia (television, radio, Internet) use.
The media training program will be offered annually on a regional basis and will be implemented by the USCC Office of Communications, which oversees Conference media relations. Training sessions will take place in Salt Lake City in April and Cincinnati in May. Fall sessions will be offered in Tampa, Florida and New York City.
Development of the strategic plan, for which Kane Reece Associates of New Jersey acted as the consulting firm, included an in-depth consultation with members of the Conference, extensive interviews with the Cardinals active in the United States, 22 archbishops and bishops, 30 professional Catholic communicators and 85 percent of dioceses returning data-gathering questionnaires. More than 150 bishops took part in group discussions on media options at their November 1996 general meeting.
Under the new plan, the CCC no longer will issue requests for proposals, although projects of special interest which are consonant with the goals of the strategic plan will continue to be considered. Proposals from developing countries still will be accepted, and some funding will be set aside for special projects of the Catholic press and Hispanic media in the United States.
In addition to the CCC and Office of Communications, the USCC Department of Communications includes Catholic News Service, an international wire serve based in Washington, and the USCC Office for Film and Broadcasting, headquartered in New York.