The Lumen to transition to 100% digital
New content delivery plan to reach wider audiences
By DAWN PROSSER
Director of Communications
(From the Jan. 25, 2024 edition of The Lumen)
Lumen Media will expand its reach in the diocese to better serve the wide variety of populations with the need for diversity in content delivery. Following current trends and allowing for greater flexibility and timeliness, all Lumen Media news will be distributed across various electronic platforms at no cost to viewers.
The Lumen Media Board determined that The Lumen newspaper would cease printing as of July 1, 2024. Diocesan news will continue to be accessible across multiple digital platforms and will be enhanced and further customized for different audiences. The Lumen will continue to be printed twice monthly through the end of the subscription period. The last edition will be June 27, 2024.
Paid subscriptions to The Lumen have dropped between 9 and 11 percent annually in recent years with projections for continued losses in the subscriber base if the newspaper continued operation.
However, audiences of electronic communications distributed by Lumen have grown markedly in the past four years. The diocese has seen a significant increase of traffic on social media and recently added Threads by Instagram.
Lumen Media’s free LumeNotes e-newsletter subscriptions have surpassed those of The Lumen print and e-edition subscriptions. A Spanish e-newsletter, Notas Lumen, is also published by Lumen Media for the growing Hispanic Catholic population in northwest Iowa.
The Lumen Media Board and Bishop Walker Nickless have been following national media trends as well as monitoring local data. The Pew Research Center published a report in November 2023 reporting that 5% of adults prefer to receive their news in print, followed by 6% radio, 27% television and 58% on digital devices.
Adults surveyed by the Pew Research Center said they prefer news websites and apps, web searches, social media and podcasts – in that order – as sources of news.
Numerous Catholic dioceses have discontinued their printed newspapers in lieu of the flexible, low-cost electronic means in an effort to reach a broader range of people. The latest diocesan newspaper to cease printing was the Peoria, Illinois, Catholic Post as of Dec. 23, 2023. The Archdiocese of Omaha Catholic Voice’s final printing was November 2021. The Archdiocese of Dubuque stopped printing The Witness newspaper October 2020.
“The board and I contemplated changing our news delivery method for many years as we were realizing annual decreases in newspaper subscriptions,” noted Bishop Walker Nickless. “From our study of the national trends of Catholic and secular media, it was clear to us that the diocese needed to make a shift to effectively reach more demographics. I am grateful for the guidance of the board members and staff to help us transition to a contemporary communications delivery model.”
Lumen Media will enhance current digital communications and expand into new areas once The Lumen is no longer printed. Local Catholic news will continue to be covered by two staff journalists Communications Director Dawn Prosser and Design and Content Coordinator Renee Webb, both based in Sioux City, as well as freelance writers based in Carroll, Fort Dodge and Estherville areas.
The current subscription period for The Lumen ends June 2024. For updates on the transition to all-digital news delivery, follow Lumen Media and the Diocese of Sioux City social media accounts – Facebook, Instagram, X and Threads – the Lumen Media webpage at lumenmedia.org and LumeNotes. (Register for LumeNotes by texting Notes to 84576 or go to lumenmedia.org.)
“I know this change will be difficult for some of us as we adjust to the new realities of digital communication. It will be hard for me to let go of the printed newspaper, but I am hopeful that many more people will be able to hear and experience the good news of the Gospel in a new and refreshing way,” Bishop Nickless said.
The diocesan newspaper was first published in 1949 as an insert in Our Sunday Visitor. An in-house newspaper, The Globe, started printing in 1953. The paper was renamed The Catholic Globe before rebranding to The Lumen in 2020.