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Vatican communications efforts must look to digital future, Pope says

May 04, 2017

At a May 4 meeting with officials of the Vatican’s new Secretariat for Communications, Pope Francis discouraged “the temptation of attachment to a glorious past” and said that future plans should focus on “digital culture.”

The Pope devoted most of his talk to the reforms that have been undertaken in the Vatican’s communications programs, including the consolidation of different agencies into the new Secretariat. “Reform,” the Pontiff said, “is not whitewshing things a little; reform means giving another form to things, organizing them in a new way.”

In this case, the Holy Father continued, reform in media strategy entails responding to the demands of a new era in communications. He observed that “in the past every method of communication had its own channels,” and therefore the Vatican had separated offices devoted to print, radio, television, and public relations. But in the internet age, all these media are closely linked, and a new coordinated strategy is necesary.

Pope Francis made a point of saying that short-wave radio broadcasts would still be available for the benefit of “countries with limited technological means.” He added—and repeated—that short-wave transimssions “have never been abandoned.” Vatican communications officials have absorbed criticism because of a dramatic reduction in the short-wave broadcasts that were once the staple of Vatican Radio.


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