BRAINTREE -- Though it has its roots in the 19th century, this week The Pilot took another step in firmly planting itself in the 21st century.
Beginning with its Aug. 6 edition, The Pilot will be available on Amazon Kindle and through its new Apple iPhone application. The Pilot also plans to unveil a mobile optimized version of its web site for BlackBerry and Android smart phones as well as an Apple iPad-specific application later this month.
"I have always felt that it is important for the Church to bring its message to people wherever they get their information," said Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley. "Today, particularly among young people, that is increasingly on mobile devices. As a Kindle user myself, I look forward to having The Pilot delivered there every week."
Though other Catholic commentators and news outlets have blog content available through Kindle, The Pilot is the first Catholic newspaper to publish an "e-edition" on the electronic reader.
"We are trying to enter in all these avenues of distribution, because that is where the people are," said Pilot editor Antonio Enrique.
The Pilot is available on Kindle for $1.49 per month. Single issues can be purchased for $0.75.
The Kindle edition will be a digital version of the weekly newspaper, with content drawn from the printed edition including local, national and international Catholic news as well as the calendar of local Catholic events and opinion pieces. However, like most newspapers available through Kindle it will not include advertisements, special features and some graphics and photos.
The iPhone and iPad applications will be based more on The Pilot's website and be updated daily, Enrique said. The upcoming Blackberry and Android formats will be news-oriented, according to Enrique.
"Readers are cross-platform," he said. "You can't expect readers to follow you on just one device or medium."
The newspaper's first step into electronic publishing came in 2006 with the launch of its award-winning website, TheBostonPilot.com, which was designed and built by Enrique.
In 2008 The Pilot launched an email newsletter sent to thousands of readers every week and in 2009 it entered the realm of social networking with presences on Facebook and Twitter.
"Essentially the website is the building block from which all other applications come," said Pilot Managing Editor Gregory L. Tracy. "None of this would be possible without TheBostonPilot.com."
Tracy said that the paper's staff is always on the lookout for the latest trends in the Internet, multimedia and online publishing.
"If we see a new technique or technology we want to implement, rather than ask why, we ask why not," he said.
"Instead of seeing it as a barrier, we see it as an opportunity and figure it out," Tracy added. "We don't limit ourselves by what we are already comfortable with."
The paper's multimedia and print presence supports its mission of bringing Catholics locally and around the globe the Catholic perspective on local, national, and international news. With the Pilot now on Kindle, the iPhone and iPad, and smart phone devices, the paper can fulfill its mission to a wider audience, Enrique said.
"These tools will help us to expand our reach to people interested in learning more about the Church's views and positions on the news," Enrique said.
"News and commentary from a Catholic perspective are the key to helping Catholics better understand how their faith intersects with the issues of the day," he added. "Regular readers of the Pilot benefit each week from stories and commentary that deal with current issues while articulating Catholic perspectives that provide subscribers with a view often absent in the secular media."