COMMUNICATION - SALESIAN BULLETIN DOCUMENTS
SALESIAN BULLETIN EDITORS (SB) - Conclusions
DIREZIONE GENERALE OPERE DON BOSCO
Via della Pisana, 1111 P. 18333 - 00163 ROMA - Tel. 06.656.121 Fax: 06.65612556 - www.sdb.org
Dicastero per la Comunicazione Sociale: Dicasterocs@gmail.com; Bollettino Salesiano: email@example.com
SALESIAN BULLETIN INTERNATIONAL MEETING
Rome, Italy, 2012.05.16-20
The Salesian Bulletin in CENTRAL AMERICA (CAM)
A little bit of history
- In 1999 Fr Juan Vecchi encouraged the modernization of the Salesian Bulletin. As a response to this effort, the provincial of Central America and Panama asked me to take up this task. Given that I had not been at the meeting in Rome in 1999, I set about reading the minutes of that meeting carefully, especially Fr Vecchi's address, and this gave me substantial guidance for my new role as editor of the Salesian Bulletin.
- Given my lack of experience in the role, I decided to surround myself with people who had some expertise. My first choice was a graphic designer who was both professional and had a Salesian sensitivity. I found this person in a young Salesian Cooperator who was recognized for his professional work. From then on he has lent the project both heart and intelligence.
- I took on another Salesian Cooperator, a woman, as my assistant. Though she did not have professional experience, she demonstrated abundant Salesian spirituality and was also a leader in the youth ministry scene.
Some quality indicators
- It was a case of giving the SB quality content. So we began to deal with current issues seen from a Christian point of view. We sought to alternate specifically religious topics with more worldly ones. For this I asked the help of Salesians working in the Formation area. I soon became aware that some of them had difficulty moving from academic language to a more journalistic style.
- From the outset we have encouraged quality of content, our editorial approach, design and printing. we have also made notable efforts to improve distribution to the Houses. This is a complicated task in a province made up of six countries.
- The print version of the Salesian Bulletin has a print run of 13,000 which goes out every two months. We also have a calendar each year available for sale.
Some indicators of an updated version: SB Web 2.0 and Video
- Over time we saw the opportunity to open up a web site for the SB. For this we took on a journalist who had a solid Catholic and Salesian experience. We began with a site plan (1.0). Then we began to set up an interactive page (2.0). Currently we are joining the SB website with the official site of the province, following the model offered by sdb.org and ANS.
- to begin with the Version 2.0 site we began organizing formation workshops for our volunteer collaborators. Each session ran for three days and tackled areas such as journalistic approach, photography and web 2.0 use. We have had 6 workshops so far at various places around the province. The response has been favorable: 20 lay people and 10 religious (male and female) are consistent collaborators. We believe we should continue with this formation exercise.
- While the print version of the SB is mostly of interest to the adults, the digital SB seems to show a preference for a more youthful audience.
- The website offers a daily flow of information from the works in the province. It also offers daily information on the Catholic Church and the Salesian Congregation.
- Our Web 2.0 resources are of various kinds: texts, images, videos, chat, blogs, posters, competitions with prizes. The print version of the SB is in pdf and flip versions as well. A section we call Kaleidoscope accepts open comments of a certain degree of quality, sent in by visitors to the site.
- The web site provides links (clickable buttons) to the web sites run by our Salesian works in Central America, Radio Don Bosco and specific events like SYM, SF Days etc.
- We have set up connections with the Universidad Don Bosco so their students of social communication can carry out a social service by developing Salesian videos for our site. We have done similarly with the Instituto Técnico Ricaldone so students of graphic design can prepare posters.
- There are just a few working in the province social communications department: one full-time SDB who works on the print version of the SB, one assistant for this SDB who is part time, and a full-time journalist for the digital edition. The graphic designer runs his own business, designs our printed SB and maintains the website. The SB is printed in a Salesian print-shop which is run autonomously. The Salesian bookshop distributes the printed version through Central America. The SC office is modest in terms of space and resources.
- We have set up an inspiring team made up of the SDB, his assistant, the journalist, the graphic designer, those who manage the printing and one invited lay person (a woman). We have begun to meet monthly so we can keep to the same criteria and generate ideas.
We are situated within the SSCS , the OPP and the SPCP (Province comms plan)
- We have the unconditional backing of the provincial and the provincial economer.
- The SSCS 2011 has helped us to refine our raison d'etre and our communications objectives. In fact the same people look after both SC and the SB in the province. We presented the SSCS to the provincial council, rectors and each Salesian community.
- SC holds only a minor place in the OPP. We need to wait for it to be revised to see that SC is defined in a way that it can have greater impact in the province at an institutional and not just a practical level.
- It fits in with the model fostered by the Congregation which urges teamwork between the YM SC and Missions departments, who this year have begun to work very much in the same direction.
The main challenges
- The SB in CAM has encountered a few obstacles or resistance on the part of the SDB and, in particular, rectors. SC is seen as a “younger brother” within the wider scene of the Salesian mission. It is seen more as the activity of one SDB than that of a province project. The SB print run is a modest one due to the fact that rectors have to pay 50% of printing costs, and this is seen as an imposition on the Salesian House. In some communities the SB distribution hardly functions well, and is not sent out to readers in an intelligent fashion. Many SDBs give little importance to SC and the SB in general which contrasts with the strong interest on the part of lay people. We are working with the provincial and his council to develop some policies which will help with the distribution of the SB.
- So far I have not succeeded in setting up an editorial team. I invite collaborators-writers according to need. This is perhaps one of the greatest weaknesses of our magazine.
Some directions for synergy between SC – SB (Province – Department)
- In future we would like:
- involve young people from our schools/colleges in social communication,
- widen the network of collaborators,
- advise our works on how to professionally improve their websites,
- work with the formation team so that SC is given adequate place in the formation plan,
- set up the SC department in terms of structure and technical and human resources,
- continue to sensitize the SDBs, especially rectors, on the importance of SC in the Salesian mission.
San Salvador, El Salvador, 7 February 2012