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Editor Jeanette DeMelo and Correspondent Wayne Laugesen
BY Tim Drake
Our first guest on Register Radio today is new editor-in-chief of the National Catholic Register, Jeanette DeMelo.
DeMelo comes to the National Catholic Register from the Archdiocese of Denver. There, Jeanette served as the director of communications, and general manager of the Denver Catholic Register. Recently married, she’s been editor-in-chief for the past two months. She spoke about her love for journalism and her positions working for a Louisiana Catholic monthly, and in communications for the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the Archdiocese of Denver. DeMelo fills the position which was vacated by Tom Hoopes three years ago.
“Coming to the National Catholic Register, I feel like I’m going back to my roots,” said DeMelo.
DeMelo has been on the job for nearly two months. She said that she’s been impressed not only by the Register staff, but also by their spirituality.
Asked about any changes she has planned for the Register, she mentioned that readers can expect to see some minor changes to the website soon, more clearly differentiating between news and opinion. She also looks forward to more in-depth, investigative series.
EWTN’s acquisition of the Register has breathed new life into the newspaper. DeMelo provided statistics showing subscription growth from 22,000 to 30,000 over the past year-and-a-half, and said that the website continues to receive more than 625,000 visits per month.
“Our mission as a Catholic newspaper is to share the Catholic perspective. Not every news organization identifies the lens through which they see the world. We do. We want to make our readers more engaged in their faith and help them to bring their faith into the public sphere,” said DeMelo. “If we veered from the Catholic perspective, we wouldn’t be doing our job.”
In our second segment, Register correspondent Wayne Laugesen provided an excellent synopsis of what led up to the Chick-Fil-A controversy, beginning with executive Dan Cathy’s comments supporting traditional families.
“The media took the things that he said and twisted and distorted them to mean something else,” explained Laugesen. “Cathy didn’t say anything against homosexuals.”
Laugesen also explained that the mayors in Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco suggested that Chick-Fil-A wasn’t welcome in their communities, and a Chicago alderman who spoke about blocking them from doing business in the city.
Laugesen referenced Cardinal Francis George’s two-part essay on the controversy.
“I was born and raised here, and my understanding of being a Chicagoan never included submitting my value system to the government for approval," wrote Cardinal George. "Must those whose personal values do not conform to those of the government of the day move from the city?”
In support of freedom of speech and the company's right to do business, Mike Huckabee proposed August 1 as Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day. As a result, the company had a record-setting day with long lines at it’s stores across the country. Laugesen also wrote about that.
“I went to three different Chick-Fil-A’s, and at every restaurant I saw lines of cars and lines that extended outside the building,” said Laugesen.