Notes for “Saints and Scholars” Presentation

Dear Prof. Albarran and Students:

It was an honor and pleasure to talk with you yesterday as part of Holy Cross College’s annual “Saints and Scholars” program. Here are some notes to amplify the thoughts I shared with you about journalism and the field of communications. I called my presentation “To be Catholic Is to Communicate.” You communicated so well, your questions and aspirations were uplifting to me.

  • Who is Bill Schmitt?

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  • Three reasons to think and learn about communications skills:
  • Communication in all its forms—spanning news, entertainment, design for all media, technological support, artwork, music, and more—constitutes a huge industry or field, with many valuable uses for your talents and skills.
  • Good communication will be part of any routes you pursue into scholarship, the career world, family life, service to others, and your faith. Some thoughts about communication skills: Grow your effectiveness in writing, speaking, presenting your thoughts and ideas to colleagues and audiences. Be comfortable and civil in dialogue and conversation. Listen well. Be avid and patient with learning, wonder, and the willingness to be surprised.  
  • Communication is an ideal path to something we all crave: the truth, which adds meaning, stability, and hope to our lives. We can’t find truth by ourselves. It’s a two-way street and a team effort.
  • Why care about truth? A secular reason and a spiritual reason:
  • Secular: Truth is a glue that holds people together—and it holds us together by anchoring us in a reality so much larger than ourselves.
  • Truth provides common ground for conversation and cooperation to experience life more fully and pursue worldly life / eternal life more successfully. Truth is our truth, not “my truth” alone. The free marketplace of ideas, where different thoughts and insights are exchanged among unique people with individual dignity, builds our ability to think, to know, and live together constructively. John Stuart Mill was a pioneering thinker about this.
  • Our society is vulnerable to our fascination with artificial reality and alternate realities, potentially found through technology or through harmful behavior with drugs, etc. Replacing personal contact and authentic experiences with tools that may “empower” us runs the risk of separating us from others and from encounters with others.
  • Spiritual: If we are on earth to serve God and bring the love of God to others, truth is a major instrument, even if some reality is not appealing. Our hearts are restless until they rest with God because we are hard-wired to want the most truth, beauty, and goodness, and we’re prompted to look beyond our material/secular/consumerist experience.
  • Why I love journalism:
  • Learn interesting things, meet interesting people, convey interesting stories that help other people, and get paid. Indulge you curiosity.
  • Reality wins. As Shakespeare said, “The truth will out.”
  • US founders realized that a well-informed public and pursuit of the common good were essential to America’s liberties and flourishing.

Why I love Catholic communications:

It’s a big enterprise within the universal Church, employing many people of diverse talents and backgrounds, communicating truth in the full spectrum of multimedia ways, including attention to artwork, music, and the value of beauty. Opportunities for important, satisfying, creative work.

The Church’s mission of evangelization, to spread the Good News, is especially crucial today, and it must use all the means available. The desire to reach audiences is not profit-driven, but more prophet-driven.

With the cycle of generations, there are many baby-boomer workers gradually retiring, and they need to be replaced. Young Catholics who believe in the Church’s work and have a grounding in the knowledge and practice of their faith can find the opportunities for continued learning and service very rewarding while they get to apply a wide range of skills and technologies. Moreover, you can bring new energy and perspectives to the work for the betterment of the Church as human institution—and for the love of the Church as divine institution.

  • Podcasts and online resources:

Grotto Network, from Notre Dame


DeSales Media: The Tablet, “Currents TV,” Online content/design



Word on Fire Network: Bishop Robert Barron

Magis Center

Credible Catholic: Answers to Questions about Faith

Spokestreet: Podcasts that Invite

About Bill Schmitt is the home for Bill Schmitt's blog and biographical information. This blog, initiated during Bill's nearly 14 years as a communications professional at Notre Dame, expresses Bill's opinions alone. Go to "About Bill Schmitt" and "I Link, Therefore I Am" to see samples of multimedia content I'm producing now and have produced during my journalism career and my marketing communications career. Like me at, follow me on Twitter @wschmitt, and meet "bill schmitt" on LinkedIn.
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