Effective Communication: Bringing the Gospel to life in the modern world

01 Nov 2018

By The Record

Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB and Bishop Don Sproxton pose for a selfie with Communications Manager Jamie O’Brien, Production Officer Feby Plando and Content Producer Joshua Low at the Chapel of Mary McKillop for ACYF 2017. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.

The importance of effective communication in the Archdiocese of Perth, and the Church as a community, has never been more important than it is now, says Manager of Communications, Jamie O’Brien.

As Archdiocesan Plan Co-ordinator for Effective Communications, and under Fr Peter Whitely VG as Vicar for Effective Communication, Mr O’Brien and his team have spearheaded much of the change that has taken place of how the Archdiocese communicates with regards to news and publications.

“Our strategy is a multi-platform approach, with the mindset that we are making this journey of faith with people from all walks of life and backgrounds,” Mr O’Brien said.

“These platforms each have their own demands, timelines, structure and even audience, and so we are constantly assessing what are the best ways to bring them to life,” he said.

“Because we live in a secular society, and our message is often counter contextual to the values of society, we have worked to ensure that the delivery is as effective and practical as possible.”

The 2018 Communications Office team, from left, Journalist Amanda Murthy, Production Officer Feby Plando, Journalist Matthew Lau, Administration Officer Bibiana Kwaramba, Content Producer Joshua Low, Communications Manager Jamie O’Brien and Journalist Theresia Titus. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.

Mr O’Brien explained that for the Archdiocese of Perth, the task of ‘communicating effectively’ has been an ongoing journey.

“What is important, is the message,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Platforms, be they print or digital, will need to and do change from time to time, according to the ever-changing audience as well as technological advancements.

“But these platforms must work together and the structure of these carefully co-ordinated to ensure the message is not lost.

“The changes we have made to our communication platforms have been necessary and the overwhelming positive response from the readership has been evidence that we are heading in the right direction.

“But we won’t stop there. We are continually working on the ethos that effective communication builds knowledge, and knowledge builds communion, leading to greater participation and engagement across all the different audiences.”

Mr O’Brien detailed that several new initiatives have taken place over the past few years that have been important in the life of the Archdiocesan Plan.

The biggest of these, has been the launch of The eRecord in October 2014 and then The Record Magazine in March 2016.

The eRecord is now at its 200th edition and covers a variety of local news and events of parishes, schools, groups, clergy, religious and lay people.

At this years Australasian Catholic Press Association Awards held in Brisbane, The eRecordwas awarded several Highly Commended titles, in addition to Winner for Best Photo at the Australasian Religious Press Association Awards, also held in Brisbane.

The Record Magazine, is a 32 page bi-monthly feature publication and is now in its 15th issue, covering topics such as education, health, family, Aboriginal culture and adult faith.

In 2017, The Record was awarded the Gutenberg Award at the Australasian Religious Press Association Awards for its outstanding combination in providing a diverse and helpful way of communicating to the community today.

A new Archdiocesan website was also launched in 2016 and a new website for The Record is in the final stages of completion.

“We have also embarked on a new strategy of engagement, which has included having a fresh presence at events such as UNDA O-Day, the Australian Pastoral Musicians Network Conference and the 2017 Australian Catholic Youth Festival,” Mr O’Brien explained.

“We are also in the process of finalising several other new ideas, such as a regular video presentation by our clergy, and increasing the use of tools such as live streaming,” he said.

What has been important for everyone involved, Mr O’Brien noted, is the time taken to trial the various platforms, test the various structures, listen to reader and audience feedback and also understand the future impact.

“Taking that time has been important for all involved, as it has allowed us to implement supporting structures that mean we are not repeating ourselves unnecessarily, but positively building on what has already being created and delivered.”

From pages 16 to 17 of Issue 15: ‘Archdiocesan Plan 2016 – 2021: Halfway mark filled with determination to commit to bring Church in Perth closer to Christ’ of The Record Magazine