set your watch ahead
In an interview with John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter, the editor of L'Osservatore Romano, Giocanni Maria Vian, explains why he doesn't think it was a mistake to publish that famous controversial excerpt from Pope Benedict's interview, and he doesn't think he was guilty of breaking an embargo:
I don't think so. Because it has already been decided that various media agencies would be able to run material from the book on Sunday morning, we didn't have any choice other than to publish our extracts on Saturday afternoon. [The Sunday edition of L'Osservatore Romano is always published Saturday afternoon.]
Yes, and the Tuesday edition of the Vatican newspaper is published on Monday afternoon, and so forth. The system is bizarre, and lends itself to absurdities; every now and then the "news" printed in the Friday edition is contradicted by events that took place Thursday night. If you wanted to make L'Osservatore Romano a more credible 21st-century news source, you might consider publishing the Monday edition on Monday.
But as things stand, L'Osservatore's Sunday issue is really the Saturday issue. So the editor "didn't have any choice" but to publish the excerpt a day early-- without bothering to notify any of the other publishers, who were honoring the embargo, since their publication dates correspond to the calendar date. Next time around maybe the other publishers will wise up. If the Vatican sets an embargo date of, say, July 4, publishers might now decide to release their July 4 issues on July 1. Then they'd be honoring the embargo, you see; just ask Vian.
Allen follows up with another question:
You weren't looking for a 'scoop'?
Vian: Absolutely not. That would be ridiculous.
Want to know what's really ridiculous? It's ridiculous when a newspaper editor says he isn't looking for a scoop.
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