Dear Subscribers,

Online Catholics Journal to cease publication after 20 December 2006

The Board of Online Catholics Limited has decided to cease publishing the current weekly e-journal after 20 December 2006.

From the beginning of this venture, our aim was to develop a sustainable e-journal supported by subscribers and advertising, within a reasonable timeframe. For some time we have been aware that our subscription revenue would not support our business plan , even though our subscriptions levels have remained relatively constant over the past 18 months. Without donations, we were faced with a considerable deficit each year. In the initial stages this deficit was covered by generous donations from religious orders and individual supporters. The Board unanimously felt that we had to come up with a business plan that was not reliant on major donations for viability.

Recently we cut back the quantity of published material in an attempt to contain editorial and production costs and to give a new look to the e-journal. We also embarked on a major subscription drive that was supported by telemarketing in several states. Unfortunately the results of this campaign did not give us confidence that sufficient revenue , without donations, would be available in the coming year to sustain our current model. We decided therefore to close the journal while there were sufficient funds to meet normal liabilities.

The non-profit company, Online Catholics Limited, will remain. Hopefully we can come up with another avenue in the future to promote renewal and free discussion in the Catholic Church. Our commitment to a revitalised church and open dialogue remains undiminished.

We are currently negotiating with another journal in the hope that our subscribers can transfer their subscription. We will let you know the outcome shortly and will be separately contacting subscribers who joined as a result of our recent campaign.

The Board has been very aware of the wonderful support it has received over the past two and a half years from subscribers, donors, staff and writers. We are grateful for the constant flow of encouraging feedback. Regrettably, with over 130 editions produced, over 400 articles and features and hundreds of letters the 20 December issue will be our last and in that we will make a longer statement.

To our staff, all of whom have put in many hours of additional work, our grateful thanks. Similarly to our contributors. Online Catholics has shown what is possible if we have an independent Catholic media in Australia. We know this is what we will grieve most.

Best wishes

Garry Eastman
garryeastman@johngarratt.com.au
Chair
Online Catholics Limited