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 CNS Story:

COMMUNICATIONS Mar-26-2010 (400 words) xxxn

USCCB Communications Department to undergo reorganization

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The Communications Department at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is undergoing a reorganization that will allow it "to tap the benefits of the rapidly changing media environment around us," said a statement from Helen Osman, who heads the department as secretary.

The changes become effective May 1, according to a March 25 press release from the USCCB.

Under the plan, the department will get a new Office of Creative Services and an Office of Customer and Client Relations. In addition, a unit for project management will be created in the Office of the Secretary for Communications to oversee development of multimedia projects. Its staff will provide communication support for all USCCB projects.

The three new entities will provide services currently being handled by USCCB Publishing and Digital Media, both of which will no longer be stand-alone offices.

The Office of Customer and Client Relations will handle business and marketing for what has been Publishing and for Catholic News Service, the largest English-language religion news-gathering service in the world. CNS is an editorially independent and a financially self-sustaining division of the Communications Department.

The Office for Media Relations, which also is a division of the department, will increase in size and expand its outreach through social media.

The Communications Department also will add staff to oversee Spanish-language translations.

Staff for the new Office of Creative Services and Office of Customer and Client Relations will include current employees who already handle many of those services.

In another change, the department's Office of Film & Broadcasting will cease to exist as a stand-alone office and its work be absorbed by CNS, which currently distributes its reviews.

Osman noted that the reorganization of the Communications Department came after a review of the media landscape of the Catholic Church in the United States, particularly with regard to the growing Hispanic population and the exploding use of social media.

For example, material produced by the creative services office will be made available not only in print but also in various digital formats, such as video, audio, text, Web, mobile devices and "other emerging technology," Osman said.

"We are in a paradigm shift in how people receive information, as profound as when the printing press was invented," she said. "It is important that the church not only provide its wisdom regarding the primary dignity of the human person in this information evolution, but also take advantage of the opportunities this new media ecology provides."


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