WASHINGTON (CNS) — Crux, an online news feed about the Catholic world established a year and a half ago by the Boston Globe, will get a new partner effective April 1 after the Globe announced March 11 that it would cut ties with Crux.
The Globe gave rights to use the Crux name and logo to its associate editor John L. Allen Jr., who told Catholic News Service that he would keep Ines San Martin, Crux’s Vatican correspondent. Others affiliated with Crux are being laid off by the Globe except for the site’s editor, Teresa Hanafin, who will be reassigned within the newspaper.
Crux’s new partner is the Knights of Columbus. In a March 15 announcement, the Knights said its own news website, Catholic Pulse, would merge into Crux’s, with Crux’s new tagline being “Keeping its finger on the Catholic Pulse.”
The Knights added it will “respect the editorial freedom of Crux, trusting it to present news and commentary in a way that serves the good of the church.”
The Globe, in its announcement, cited financial reasons for splitting off Crux from the newspaper. Allen told CNS he was informed of the details March 9, two days before the Globe’s announcement.
“It’s really important for me to say that I’m clearly disappointed that this happened. That said, I am infinitely grateful to the Globe for what they have given me; they have spent considerable resources,” Allen said March 14. “I don’t want any messages from sour grapes coming from me.”
The Globe, whose reporting on the clergy sex abuse scandal in the Archdiocese of Boston formed the basis for the movie “Spotlight,” which won Oscar for best picture Feb. 28, delivered less than two weeks later its decision to part ways with Crux, which focused on reporting about the Catholic Church. “I’m aware of the irony,” Allen said.
“The problem is the business,” said a March 11 memo to Globe employees from editor Brian McGrory and Boston Globe Media Group digital managing editor David Skok. “We simply haven’t been able to develop the financial model of big-ticket, Catholic-based advertisers that was envisioned when we launched Crux back in September 2014.”
In an email to The Atlantic magazine, McGrory wrote, “I loved Crux. We all did. It was a terrific idea, a noble mission, and very well executed by a small, deeply experienced, hard-working staff. We made the words work, but not the numbers. They simply didn’t add up. So we decided, quite literally, to cut our losses and focus on the core of our business.”
Allen said Crux was getting 1 million page views a month, more with Pope Francis’ U.S. visit last September and the wintertime “dust-up” between the pope and Republican presidential aspirant Donald Trump.
The Knights’ announcement said, “The plans are for Knights of Columbus to be the main sponsor and partner. Crux will also continue to solicit advertising and may allow some level of additional co-sponsorship especially for the coverage of specific topic areas that align with the joint K of C-Crux mission of providing quality Catholic journalism through this platform.”
Will a revamped Crux will be flooded with ads like one appearing at the end of the Politico.com story on the Crux shakeup, inviting readers to click through to a story, “Her Dress Dropped Jaws at the CMT Awards”?
Replied Allen, “God, I hope not.”