Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jan 31, 2023 / 09:00 am (CNA).
The National Catholic Register and Catholic News Agency will operate under single executive leadership as part of an organizational restructuring of EWTN’s two U.S.-based news outlets.
EWTN Chairman and CEO Michael P. Warsaw announced Tuesday the appointment of Jeanette De Melo, the longtime editor-in-chief of the Register and the newspaper’s current executive director, as executive director of both the Register and CNA.
CNA was previously under the longtime executive leadership of Alejandro Bermudez, who was also the executive director of EWTN’s ACI Group, an international network of media agencies covering global Catholic news in seven languages — Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, French, English, and Arabic. Bermudez retired from EWTN Dec. 31.
Kelsey Wicks, who previously served as the ACI Group’s operations manager and, for the past six months, as CNA’s interim executive director, will become ACI’s new executive director, Warsaw announced.
As a part of this reorganization, Warsaw has named Shannon Mullen, a more than 30-year veteran in journalism and Catholic News Agency’s editor-in-chief since July 2021, editor-in-chief of the National Catholic Register.
The restructuring comes on the heels of EWTN’s recent appointment of Montse Alvarado as the president and chief operating officer of EWTN News.
Alvarado comes to the role from her position as executive director and chief operating officer at the Becket Fund, a renowned nonprofit public interest group that defends religious freedom legally as a human right at the U.S. Supreme Court and elsewhere. She also serves as the founding host of the TV news program “EWTN News In Depth.”
Alvarado will assume her new post on March 6.
Improved coverage, greater efficiency
The pairing of the Register and CNA aims to bolster both platforms’ domestic and international coverage of Catholic news, Warsaw said. Each outlet will continue to maintain its distinct identity and scope within EWTN News.
CNA is a national and international wire service primarily focused on breaking news and daily coverage of the pope and Vatican, with journalists based in the U.S. and Rome.
CNA also provides articles and photographs to diocesan news outlets and other subscribers through its Editors Service. The Register, which specializes in in-depth reporting and commentary, publishes a biweekly broadsheet print edition and produces daily news online at NCRegister.com.
“I am confident this new structure will provide an opportunity to strengthen our news teams, our coverage, and our reach as well as allow us to better share valuable resources across platforms,” Warsaw said. “By improving the efficiency of our operations, we will be able to focus more on our editorial mission both here in the U.S. and across the globe.”
De Melo has been involved in Catholic media for more than 20 years, first as a diocesan communications director and general manager and most recently leading the Register for more than 10 years.
The newspaper, founded by Monsignor Matthew Smith in Denver in 1927, was acquired by EWTN in 2011. The Register earned the Catholic Press Association’s Newspaper of the Year award in 2022.
In De Melo’s expanded role as executive director of both the Register and CNA, the focus will be on ensuring the quality of the journalism and faithfulness to reporting from a distinctly Catholic lens, as well as attracting new audiences to the newspaper and websites.
“For several years now the Register has depended on CNA for its Vatican coverage and breaking daily news. Uniting under one umbrella to strategize and share resources will only increase our coverage footprint and our effectiveness in serving our audiences. I look forward to greater collaboration between the CNA and Register teams,” De Melo said.
In addition, she said, “I know through partnership with the ACI Group we’ll be able to expand our work to bring even more news from the universal Church to our domestic readers.”
Wicks is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the Augustine Institute. She worked as a legislative assistant on immigration- and refugee-related issues for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops before she turned down a scholarship to Notre Dame Law School to join the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia. Shortly after discerning out of the convent, she began her career in media and helped EWTN News expand the ACI Group by participating in the foundation and launching of ACI MENA, the Catholic news agency in Arabic for the Middle East and Northern Africa.
The ACI Group, acquired by EWTN in 2014, has expanded EWTN News’ reach as an international leader in Catholic news. With offices located across the world — ACI Prensa in Lima, Peru; ACI Digital in São Paulo, Brazil; CNA Deutsch in Munich, Germany; ACI Stampa in Rome, Italy; ACI Africa, in Nairobi, Kenya; and ACI MENA in Erbil, Iraq — the news agencies focus on covering local, continental, and international news from a Catholic perspective.
“From Latin America to the Middle East and Northern Africa, these agencies, staffed by local Catholics who speak and write in the language of the regions, present news that matters to the people closest to them,” Wicks said.
“Additionally, the flow of news coming from the other agencies worldwide helps keep local audiences in tune with what’s happening internationally, allowing them to read and pray for the most important events and stories in other parts of the world,” she said.
“We have a truly global Church and ours is a global work,” Wicks added. “I’m grateful for this opportunity to lead our team of dedicated editors and journalists who connect so many different people with each other through news of the Church, Christian witnesses, and defense of the faith.”
Before coming to CNA, Mullen was a features writer, investigative reporter, and editor with the Asbury Park Press, a Gannett Co. newspaper, in New Jersey, where he was a member of a reporting team that was named a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize.
“Over the last 18 months, Shannon has demonstrated a passion for journalistic excellence, a commitment to serving the Church, and a deep dedication to his team at CNA,” De Melo said. “His transition to the Register plays into his creative strengths and capitalizes on his long experience in the newspaper industry.”
The search for an editor-in-chief for Catholic News Agency is currently underway.
In its 42nd year, EWTN Global Catholic Network is the largest Catholic media organization in the world. EWTN’s 11 global TV channels and numerous regional channels are broadcast in multiple languages 24 hours a day, seven days a week to over 400 million television households in more than 160 countries and territories.
EWTN platforms also include radio services transmitted through SIRIUS/XM, iHeart Radio, and over 600 domestic and international AM and FM radio affiliates; a worldwide shortwave radio service; one of the most visited Catholic websites in the U.S.; and EWTN Publishing, its book publishing division.
In addition to its digital and print news outlets, EWTN News, headquartered in Washington, D.C., produces the television shows “EWTN News Nightly,” “EWTN News In Depth,” “EWTN Pro-Life Weekly,” and “The World Over with Raymond Arroyo.”
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How wonderfully Providential it is that the EWTN Global Catholic Network, the largest Catholic media organization in the world, is also a FAITHFUL Catholic news organization!