BY JIM LOCKWOOD
THE NEWSPAPER of Boston archdiocese has become the first Catholic paper available on the Amazon Kindle.
The Pilot also plans to unveil a mobile-optimised version of its website for BlackBerry and Android smartphones as well as an Apple iPad-specific application later in August.
Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston said: “I have always felt that it is important for the Church to bring its message to people wherever they get their information. Today, particularly among young people, that is increasingly on mobile devices. As a Kindle user myself, I look forward to having The Pilot delivered there every week.” Though other Catholic commentators and news outlets have blog content available through Kindle, The Pilot is the first Catholic newspaper to publish an “e-edition” on the electronic reader.
Pilot editor Antonio Enrique said: “We are trying to enter in all these avenues of distribution, because that is where the people are.” The Pilot is available on Kindle for $1.49 (93p) per month. Single issues can be purchased for 75 cents (47p).
The Kindle edition will be a digital version of the weekly newspaper, with content drawn from the printed edition including local, national and international Catholic news as well as the calendar of local Catholic events and opinion pieces. But like most newspapers available through Kindle, it will not include advertisements, special features and some graphics and photos.
The iPhone and iPad applications will be based more on The Pilot’s website and be updated daily, Mr Enrique said. The upcoming Blackberry and Android formats will be news-oriented, he added.
“Readers are cross-platform,” he said. “You can’t expect readers to follow you on just one device or medium.” The newspaper’s first step into electronic publishing came in 2006 with the launch of its award-winning website, TheBostonPilot.com, which was designed and built by Mr Enrique. In 2008 The Pilot launched an email newsletter sent to thousands of readers every week and in 2009 it entered the realm of social networking with presences on Facebook and Twitter.
Pilot managing editor Gregory Tracy said: “Essentially, the website is the building block from which all other applications come. None of this would be possible without TheBostonPilot.com.” He said that the paper’s staff were always on the lookout for the latest trends in the internet, multimedia and online publishing.
“If we see a new technique or technology we want to implement, rather than ask why, we ask: ‘Why not?’ “Instead of seeing it as a barrier, we see it as an opportunity and figure it out. We don’t limit ourselves by what we are already comfortable with.” The paper’s multimedia and print presence supports its mission of bringing Catholics locally and around the globe the Catholic perspective on local, national, and international news. With The Pilot now on Kindle, the iPhone and iPad, and smartphone devices, the paper can fulfil its mission to a wider audience. “These tools will help us to expand our reach to people interested in learning more about the Church’s views and positions on the news,” Mr Enrique said.