• Andrew Ehrkamp

A New "Face" In Canadian Catholic Media

With apologies to media critic Marshall McLuhan, Grandin Media is the medium with a message.

We’re an ambitious online Catholic news website focusing on news, events and issues from and about the Archdiocese of Edmonton, as well as across Canada and around the world.

Our mission is to inform, to inspire, to evangelize and to fill a gaping hole on Canada’s media scene: the Catholic angle. Faith is not only at the forefront, it’s in our name: Grandin Media honours our roots, and acts as a locator. Bishop Vital Grandin was the first bishop in Alberta.

December marks a year since the Archdiocese of Edmonton launched Grandin Media, which builds on the journalistic excellence of the Western Catholic Reporter but takes it to a new level. We’re telling the Catholic story by using the tools of online news stories and features, video, photos and social media.

Grandin Media’s goals are grounded in Archbishop Richard Smith’s Vision for Communications.

“In this environment it is no longer good enough to respond to inquiries from the press or to produce in-house publications for a small Catholic audience,” Archbishop Smith wrote. “The Church must see communications as absolutely vital to its evangelical mission and seek to shape public conversation and to activate lay people for action in the world.”

I was hired several months before our official launch. Under the leadership of chief communications officer Lorraine Turchansky, the Archdiocese of Edmonton has assembled a team to produce Grandin Media. We have a new videographer, social media specialist, webmaster who joins a veteran reporter and graphic designer from days of the Western Catholic Reporter.

Most of us get our news and information on our smartphones or our desktops and that is Grandin Media’s priority. We have a “mobile first” policy for all our content. Our advantage, as an online medium, is to leverage online stories, videos and social media together and to present Catholic news, features, videos and information.

Grandin Media is new on the Canadian Catholic media scene, but we see it as an advantage. We’re not bound by any preconceived limitations on what we can do. So each of us on staff has a contribution to shaping Grandin Media’s present and future.

Here’s a taste of what Grandin Media has done in the past year:

  • Vital Word is a regular series of video blogs that focus on a particular part of Scripture. Our most recent video focuses on the value of passing on the Catholic faith to the next generation.

  • Our Bishops’ Roundtable video series is a look at the issues facing the shepherds of Alberta and Northwest Territories. The bishops sat down with Grandin Media for a wide-ranging, roundtable discussion.

  • Grandin Media covered Archbishop Richard Smith’s a press conference on Oct. 10 to respond to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ new abuse prevention guidelines. Using video and social media, Grandin Media was able to provide added value for our audience.

  • Grandin Media produced a video looking at issues facing both the Catholic and Muslim communities. Muslim leaders were invited by Archbishop Smith to visit St. Albert Parish, the heart of Catholicism in Alberta. It was a follow-up to Archbishop Smith’s first visit to a mosque last year.

  • Our Grandin Media team went to Fort Simpson, N.W.T. to cover the opening of a new church, funded in part by the Edmonton Archdiocese. Beyond that, we also produced a documentary style video on the challenges facing the Church in the North, and the ongoing reconciliation efforts with First Nations.

Our audience primarily finds Grandin Media on social media. And of the social media platforms, Facebook has by far been the medium with the most reach. Since our launch in December 2017, we’ve grown from 48 followers to 707 by October 2018. From those 700-some followers, we have an average reach of 28,000 individual accounts from posts shared by our followers every month.

Our average reach on Twitter per month is at 46,466 accounts from roughly 58 monthly tweets. The majority of our tweets are photo links to text stories. We currently have 1071 followers. We reached the 1000 follower mark at the end of June 2018, only seven months after our official launch.

Grandin Media also shares its stories and videos through our membership in the Canadian Catholic News, helping to strengthen the Catholic media as a whole, especially during these challenging times. We also share our content with an international audience through Catholic News Service.

We’re only a year old but all of the staff at Grandin Media feel that we’re at the forefront of Catholic communications. As we move forward, Grandin Media will be as dogged in its journalistic excellence as it is committed to our faith.

Follow us on Facebook at or on Twitter @grandinmedia. You can also sign up for our email newsletter.

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