Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

comparing news stories

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Oct 12, 2010

For an interesting perspective how journalists influence each other, read these two stories about the Vatican announcement of the new Pontifical Council for New Evangelization.

First read John Allen’s report in the National Catholic Reporter. Then read the AP wire story. Does is sound familiar?

The two stories should sound similar, of course. They were written about the same event. But it’s particularly interesting to me that the questions John Allen considered most important—the questions he posed to Archbishop Fisichella, as he explains in his own story—are also the questions highlighted in the AP account.

These were important questions. It’s not surprising that two journalists covering the story would agree that they deserved consideration. Once Allen asked the questions, at an open news conference with other journalists in attendance, the archbishop’s answers were in the public domain. It’s only natural that AP reported them.

But there’s another aspect to this matter. Wire-service reporters, who may or may not understand what’s going on inside the Vatican, recognize that Allen is an expert in the field—among English-speaking journalists, it’s safe to say, the expert in the field. So they are likely to pay attention to the question he asks. They’d be foolish if they didn’t. I certainly would.

Thus one journalist’s analysis can influence another journalist’s report. And so it has always been. Reporters tend to read each other’s stories. When they’re together—as they often are—they chat about the news over coffee. Inexperienced reporters pick up tips from their more experienced colleagues; novices take directions from experts. This isn’t plagiarism; it isn’t a scandal; it isn’t even surprising. It’s the way the world works.

During the last several months, I’ve noticed that more and more media outlets are carrying stories about the Church that echo thoughts I have written on this site. I take that as a compliment.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our September expenses ($33,239 to go):
$35,000.00 $1,761.25
95% 5%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Paul - Ave Law '07 - Oct. 13, 2010 11:55 AM ET USA

    You're writing too hopefully. In fact, John Allen's piece is at the National Catholic Reporter. :)

  • Posted by: gallardo.vm5565 - Oct. 12, 2010 5:41 PM ET USA

    About time indeed! That's why we come here, to this site.

  • Posted by: mjarman7759049 - Oct. 12, 2010 5:14 PM ET USA

    "During the last several months, I’ve noticed that more and more media outlets are carrying stories about the Church that echo thoughts I have written on this site." All I can say is...About time!

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Liberal visions of Catholicism: Kickstarter and the world's largest NGO 23 hours ago
The Blessed Book of Beasts August 30
Weekend reading August 29
Frustrating the Moral Law August 29
Weep for slaughtered Christians, not for dialogue with Islam August 29

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
‘A real via crucis’: Pope Francis, patriarch plead on behalf of Iraq’s Christians CWN - August 8
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians in flight as Islamic State advances CWN - August 8