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Webathon: Joe Feuerherd’s challenge

 |  NCR Today

Webathon Day Four. Let me begin by thanking all contributors who have given so generously so far in this webathon. You donate to support NCR’s mission of delivering independent journalism coverage. Finding and reporting the stories you want told is our pledge to you and you reciprocate by supporting us in the webathon. Your belief in the mission of NCR inspires me and the full team at NCR to work harder to find the stories you want -- some would say need -- to read.

I have been editor for two and half years. I have the privilege (and the challenge) to follow such outstanding editors as Tom Fox, Tom Roberts and Arthur Jones. I still look to them for guidance and inspiration. Let me share with you some of thoughts from Joe Feuerherd, former NCR Washington correspondent and NCR editor and publisher from 2008 to 2011 (the webathon was his idea):

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Today, NCR continues to cover the laypeople and bishops (there are a few left) who question mandatory celibacy, the all-male priesthood (and diaconate), and other such unmentionables. Some things don’t change quickly, or perhaps at all, but we continue to cover the stories that matter to the Catholic community.

As long as there is an NCR, as long as there are Catholics who support independent Catholic journalism, there will be at least one publication that not only celebrates the church’s many successes, but gives equal time to highlighting its controversies and scandals. We do this with affection, with love. But powerful institutions in our society require watchdogs. That’s how we, reporters and editors, serve the people of God.

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On one level, it’s complicated. You can twist yourself in knots considering how a particular story is going to “help” or “hurt” the church. Or you can just tell the stories and let the chips fall as they will. We prefer the latter approach.

It’s a style -- independent Catholic journalism practiced by professional laypersons -- that has proven effective for nearly half a century. Go here, right now, to show your support.

H.L. Menken, no saint and no friend of religion, said one of the jobs of a journalist is “to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.” That’s not all we do, but it’s a pretty good start.

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Joe Feuerherd died three years ago, not long after writing the words above. Cancer took him at age 48. It was a blow to NCR, but the sense of purpose and the unflagging energy he brought to NCR continue to inspire us. And to challenge us. Those of us who remember Joe are driven by the same sense of mission, and I think that shows in the work we do.

If you, too, believe in that mission, please join us today with a donation.

Today is Wednesday, Hump Day. The week and the webathon is nearly half over. I wish I could tell you that we are half way to our goal of $100,000, but we aren’t quite there. I’m asking you to take this Hump Day Challenge: Help the webathon over the hump, put us over the halfway mark.

We only interrupt you unfettered access to NCRonline.org one week a year. It’s just one week a year, but it is a very important week for us. The other 51 weeks a year, you have unfettered access to the news, analysis and commentary that you value so much.

Help us meet this goal -- or, better yet, surpass it -- and we'll go back to unrestricted access to the reporting, analysis and commentary you have come to expect from NCR.

Special Note: A few readers are having trouble making donations on our donation page. If you have that kind of trouble, please call our offices and we’ll help you over the phone. Call 1-800-444-8910 ext 2265.

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September 12-25, 2014

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