The Trenton, N.J., Diocese’s video-sharing site, Dottube, seems to be the first of its kind.
Dioceses and churches have claimed their own YouTube channels or posted videos on diocesan or parish Web sites, but debuting a separate site may be new territory, according to leaders for the Catholic Academy for Communications Arts Professionals.
“I don’t know of any that have taken that step,” said Frank Morock, president of that organization and communications director for the Diocese of Raleigh, N.C., which he said was the first diocese in the world with its own Web site. Nationally, there is My Catholic Voice for video sharing.
“I commend them because a number of dioceses don’t have the capability of using media to get the message out,” he said about Trenton.
Its new site has given a home to diocesan television productions “Realfaith TV” and “The Catholic Corner” and radio production “Black Catholics, Yes!” It also allows parishes and ministry groups — such as youth groups, the Knights of Columbus, Catholic schools, campus ministries and adult faith formation groups — to create and share original content, said Rayanne Bennett, diocesan communications officer.
One parish actively posts content thus far. Site activity is expected to increase in the fall, after parents have signed waivers for their children to participate.
Only group leaders can post videos to the site, but anyone can sign up and post comments, which are moderated. These restrictions make it a safer environment than YouTube, where children can navigate to questionable “related videos.”
The diocese launched Dottube in March, five months after the idea was pitched by the Office of Radio and Television and the Hispanic Apostolate, said Ken Perry, Web department director. It cost between $15,000 and $18,000 to start the site, and it will cost $10,000 to host each year. Morock said dioceses will probably look at the option because after start-up costs, it’s not expensive to achieve a decent picture and understandable audio.
“Anything that advances getting the word out, I applaud,” he said.
Bennett and Perry said the site has the potential to attract non-Catholics to the faith if users link videos to their blogs. Moreover, it may enrich the faith experience of those who are Catholic, such as parents who visit the site to see videos or pictures of their children and notice such features as online adult catechesis classes. In this way, it serves a similar purpose to diocesan newspapers.