Msgr Viganò on one year into the Vatican Communications reform

(Vatican Radio) One year from the publication of the “Motu Proprio” with which Pope Francis established the new Vatican Secretariat for Communication charged with reforming Vatican communications, the Prefect of the Secretariat, Msgr. Dario Eduardo Viganò, gives a run-down of the work accomplished in the past 12 months and looks ahead to a new vision.

In an interview with Vatican Radio’s Alessandro Gisotti, Msgr. Viganò points out that clear indications in the Pope’s “Motu Proprio” place the current digital culture at the center of the reform and change the perspective into a “User first” one that challenges us to “stop navel-gazing in the assumption that others are listening and looking at us”.

The media reform regards all the Vatican media outlets including the daily newspaper “L’Osservatore Romano”, Vatican Radio, CTV, the LEV publishing house, the typography and the Vatican Press Office.  

Msgr. Viganò points out that some 85% of the population use mobile devices to connect to media. The Pope’s “Motu Proprio”, he says, is “an invitation to leave behind the arrogance of a unidirectional mode of communication” and to realize that we are called to bring the message of the Gospel to men and women of today who are immersed in new media.

Speaking of the past year of work, Msgr. Viganò says it has been an intense but “fascinating” time that has seen some 400 people involved in over 140 meetings in an effort to understand the existing potential and to draw up new projects. Some of these, he says, have resulted in investing in professional training and some staff members have been given the opportunity to “grow” by doing master degrees in business administration and communications.

Msgr. Viganò says the Pope himself and the C9 Council of Cardinals were extremely interested in their last meeting at the beginning of June to be updated on how the reform is proceeding. He says numbers were specifically spoken about because “the Cardinals will have to take responsibility for some of the decisions” to be made. 

Regarding the technical aspects of the reform and the presentation of the new multi-media internet portal, Msgr. Viganò points out that “it’s all very well to have a new portal with better software, more options, etc., but the real reform takes place behind the scenes”. He describes the portal as the tip of an iceberg of a system in which everything will be produced by a concerted team effort:  “we must learn to put our personal experience aside and put ourselves humbly in the position of learning because humility is the necessary way to approach the reform”.

And regarding the new portal itself, Msgr. Viganò explains it will feature videos, podcasts, images, print articles and live radio. He says the advantages for those who listen/watch/read us is that they will no longer be confused or “cannibalized” by turning to us.

Claiming that “we have been inexistent for the public”, he says that when Francis was elected Pope most people consulted Wikipedia to discover who Jorge Mario Bergoglio was and says there is much work to be done regarding web reputation and positioning. 

“We must become ‘the source’ for Vatican and Papal news – not the official source (that’s the Press Office) but an important source’, he says.

Following an in depth analysis of the organizations that make up Vatican media, Msgr. Viganò says the Secretariat has come to the conclusion that it is the work of the people which is ultimately penalized: “it’s like a motor that has everything and yet does not work efficiently; instead of producing energy it produces only heat and ends up overheating and stalling. Here we have a motor; we want it to function properly so that it can go fast, so that it can put on the breaks, so that it can overtake when needed”. 

Regarding the unification of Vatican Radio and CTV, Msgr. Viganò says a ‘repositioning’ and an ‘empowerment’ of the Radio’s “105 Live” local radio broadcasts will soon be a reality because, he says, it is important for the radio dimension to remain and  people will be able to continue to listen to Vatican Radio in Italian. However he says it will possibly feature news broadcasts in other languages as well.

“As Fr Lombardi mentioned on the occasion of the Radio’s 80th anniversary, Vatican Radio is no longer a radio station” he said. 

The different language programmes, Msgr. Viganò explains, will be the ‘beating heart’, the protagonists of the ‘hub content’ of the new portal with a slew of  multi-linguistic and multi-cultural programmes with text content and audio that will be offered via podcasts.

(from Vatican Radio)

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