When the circulation of the Catholic News took a dive due to closure of churches during the COVID-19 lockdown, new ways had to be found to boost sales as well as online subscriptions.
The formal thrust involved print and online advertisements, a call campaign, deals for print and online subscriptions. There has been another drive, as CAMSEL staff, their family and friends were enlisted to increase distribution and promote subscriptions in their social networks. Supporters of Catholic News from all walks have been giving yeoman’s service.
A parishioner from Barataria sold the paper at church and decided to continue from her home; another from Arima began with over 30 papers and increased to about 70. In Santa Rosa Heights, there’s a woman who is keeping fit walking and selling the Catholic News. “People in their own way are doing things,” said Editor Raymond Syms.
Then there is Maxwell Pope and Leo Neptune. ‘Max’, as he is fondly known, is a ‘Jack of all trades’ at the Catholic Centre, Independence Square which houses the offices of Catholic Media Services Ltd, Liturgical Commission and the Archdiocesan Catechetical Office. For the past few Sundays Max, the Centre’s front desk security, and Leo, CAMSEL’s courier, have been working to deliver 1,000 free copies of the paper to homes in northwest Trinidad.
They started in the west at Westmoorings, Goodwood Park and Carenage. They’ve been to Maraval, St Ann’s, Cascade and Diamond Vale in Diego Martin.
Max said it was a nice experience going to different places. Distribution has been occurring from about 7 a.m. to 3.30 – 4 p.m. as they go from “house to house”.
He clarifies, “It was not like somebody say come and drop it to my house; it is free, so we are dropping to any house.” The reception was not always warm but there were folks who expressed thanks for the free paper.
Max said there are persons staying at home who may not know where to get their Catholic News. “Dropping that for them helps, they will say ‘Hey even though we inside papers still come… and that was nice, so you can get a little boost still’.”
They try to share as many papers as possible. “When you are throwing papers, you burn out fast…we try and get out as much as we could get out,” Leo said.
It was troublesome trying to deliver over “high fences” plus the very hot days. Leo reported some folks said “Thank God! I had no papers and I get a free paper”.
He had this advice for readers who want the paper regularly without the hassle of wondering where to get: “Subscribe, give an email, a proper [home] address”. —LPG
and South Trinidad