Catholic Free Press

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  • Aug
  • 7

Catholic journalist takes on new role ‘to shape coverage’

Posted By August 7, 2014 | 12:53 pm | Lead Story #3

By Father Paul J. Tougas
CFP Correspondent

John L. Allen Jr., a journalist well know for his coverage of the Catholic Church, has taken on a new role in the secular media. As an associate editor at The Boston Globe, Mr. Allen said he hopes to help shape the newspaper’s coverage of the universal Church.
In a recent email interview, Mr. Allen noted that all the Italian daily newspapers have someone to specifically cover the Vatican, “but it is a first in this country for a major daily to hire an analyst specifically focused on Catholicism.”
“This sort of thing is new to the United States; it’s unusual and it is a reflection of The Boston Globe’s desire to get it right,” Mr. Allen said.
Mr. Allen began his assignment at the Globe in February where he continues to pen the All Things Column he wrote while at the National Catholic Reporter.  He worked for NCR, an independent national Catholic newspaper, for 16 years and was its Vatican correspondent. He has also been correspondent at the Vatican for CNN. He is the author of nine books and a regular speaker on Catholic issues. He can be followed on Twitter – @JohnLAllenJr – or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JohnLAllenJr.
According to the journalist, The Boston Globe operates in a solidly Catholic location in New England but also across this country.
“For me to help shape the coverage of the Church in a major publication was too enticing to resist,” said Mr. Allen.
Besides writing for the print edition, Mr. Allen said that “the Globe is launching a new web-based publication devoted to coverage of the Church which is one part ‘Pope Francis effect’ and also a reflection of a large Catholic population in Boston, across the United States” and in other English speaking countries.
Last week the Globe announced that the new website will be called “Crux” and cover “all things Catholic.” Along with Mr. Allen,  Margery Eagan, former columnist with the Boston Herald, will write for Crux and focus on “spirituality, contemplation and devotion,” according to the site’s editor Teresa Hanafin. No launch date has been announced for the “subscription service.”
“Catholics form roughly half of Boston’s population and 25 percent of the American population overall, which is a massive potential market, not to mention that the potential audience for Catholic coverage in the English language is hardly restricted to the United States. Bear in mind that there are 57 million Catholics in Italy but almost 70 million in America, plus millions more in countries such as Canada, the U.K. Ireland and Australia. It’s high time the Anglophones become as committed to covering this story as the Italians, because the truth is that our audience is much larger,” he noted.
Mr. Allen said he will not cover local Boston Catholic news because there are others at the Globe who do that well. He works from Denver and Rome and will continue that.
When asked about the Pope’s recent trip to the Holy Land, Mr. Allen said, “The trip to the Holy Land was a bravura performance by Pope Francis who displayed a uniquely religious style of diplomacy and also operated as history’s first pope not identified as a ‘Western’ figure.” Further, he said the trip “opened a new chapter in the way the Vatican engages the world’s conflict zones and Pope Francis played just as well with Muslims and Jews as he did with his own Christian following.”