Journalists and the Pope
Imagine you’re a newly minted BBC News intern. You bound into the office on your first day, your 2:1 in Media Studies and Digital Production from the University of Salford burning a hole in your pocket.
You’ve made it! You’ve reached the dizzying heights of the state broadcaster’s newsroom. You’re ready to take over the world.
But disaster strikes: your editor hands you the first assignment, and it’s a report on the Catholic Church. Pope Benewhatsit has gone to some place to give some speech about God and stuff.
You’re eager to impress, but totally out of your depth. What are you to do? Who do you turn to?
Well, here at the The Catholic Herald, we understand how peculiar and arcane the world of Catholicism must appear to reporters new to the beat. That’s why we’ve trawled the archives of the major broadcasters and newspapers to bring you the lessons learned by your senior colleagues.
We hope that by sharing these best practice guidelines, we can help reporters to uphold the tradition of fair and balanced reporting on Catholic issues for which the British press is rightly famed. Here, then, are our top tips for success.
For any event at which the Pope appears, always inflate the number of protesters. At World Youth Day in Madrid this year, the number of protesters represented less than 0.04 per cent of the people who turned out in support of the Pope (5,000 people versus 1.5 million people). But that didn’t stop those enterprising minds at the BBC from focusing almost exclusively on the malcontents, ignoring the vast scale and success of a joyful celebration of young Catholics. ....
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