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Vatican Radio encouraged to 'think outside the box,' use new media

Catholic World News - February 11, 2011

As Vatican Radio celebrated its 80th anniversary on February 10, an official of the Vatican Secretariat of State challenged the broadcaster to keep pace with “a veritable revolution underway today in the world of media.”

Radio broadcasters “can no longer ignore the power and pervasiveness of the new media,” said Msgr. Peter Bryan Wells in an address to Vatican Radio officials. Citing the rise of social networks like Twitter and Facebook, and the emergence of new instruments like the Ipad, he urged Vatican Radio officials to “think outside the box: to see radio, television, internet and newspapers not as free-standing tools with well-defined competences, but rather as circles to intersect and link together.”

Msgr. Wells cited Pope Benedict XVI, who said in his message for this year’s World Day for Social Communications that Church leaders must learn to make effective use of the latest communications technology. The Secretary of State official warned that “not having new technical tools at one’s full disposal, or not knowing about the most current tools, will mean that one’s message will arrive late, will arrive wrong, and might even arrive in vain.”

Msgr. Wells emphasized that he did not mean to denigrate the importance of radio. In fact, he suggested that the new technologies might accentuate the benefits of broadcast journalist. “We are not talking about taking away radio’s proper function: reaching listeners,” he said. “Rather we are talking about using new media to render radio capable of meeting the expectations of listeners who are more and more sensitive to information.”

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