Joseph Sinasac, our publishing director here at Novalis, talks about some of his activities, the publishing industry and current events.
You’re involved in several organizations outside of work. Can you tell us about some of your activities?
Besides being active in my parish as a reader at Mass and with a men’s group, I am currently president of the Association of Roman Catholic Communicators of Canada. This group organizes professional development opportunities for communicators who work for the Church. I am also involved with the Association of Catholic Publishers in the United States and the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada.
You worked in journalism for many years, what are some of the key differences now that you work in book publishing? Do the two different types of publishing have similar challenges?
Both endeavours face the arduous task of determining how to publish in a financial viable way in the digital world. Journalism is further down this road than book publishing and has made many more mistakes in the process. Today, news media outlets are still struggling to stop giving away so much content and get reasonable returns for their work. Book publishers can learn from them—at least learn what not to do. Book publishing, however, unlike most news media outlets, must learn to juggle many more projects at the same time and do so on several different delivery platforms. It makes our task all that much more complicated and challenging.
Recently the Church has been in the news a lot. What is your reaction to these compelling times?
There is an old Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indeed, we do live in interesting times today in the Catholic Church. There has been so much dismaying news over the last decade, particularly in relation to the clergy sex abuse crisis. But I have always been able to divorce my feelings about the institutional church from my religious faith. My faith remains strong despite the sins of our Church leadership. And I know there are so many others—lay and clergy alike—who continue to try to do their best and live out their Christianity according to the Gospel; they encourage me and keep me hopeful and passionate about our work at Novalis. What we do here has never been more needed in the history of our organization.
If you had chosen not to pursue a career in journalism and publishing, what else might you have tried?
I once considered engineering, but abandoned that as I hated math. Another passion, besides the English language and journalism, is history. I suppose I could have laboured away in the halls of academe, but it wouldn’t have been nearly so much fun.