Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wash, rinse, spin...

"The Pontifical Council for Social Communications (PCCS) has organized a conference to examine the role of the Catholic press in today's world. Among the themes to be addressed is the Catholic media response to controversy within the Church..."

Better yet, here is exactly how the theme is worded in the preliminary program on the PCSC Web site -- a program which doesn't yet list speakers or any other details about the meeting except that it is to be held in Rome at a yet to be disclosed location on October 4-7, 2010:


...Day #2 – 5th October 2010...
Afternoon
3,30 Ecclesial Communion and Controversies. Freedom of
Expression and the Truth of the Church.
Panel: Blogger, Church spokesperson, Theologian,
Sociologist, Secular Journalist.
5,00 Group Work. Language Groups. Should Catholic Press
avoid certain topics? How should it speak of controversial
issues? Should it give a voice to dissent?...
Wash, rinse, spin...If necessary, re-wash.

On another subject: To the PCSC: A cardinal rule for good Web communications is that you don't post organizational events on your website until you have most of the basic information to convey -- location, speakers, etc. ..and de-bugged. I registered for free and logged on to the PCSC website using my new password but was unable to get the registration form for the conference to come up. Maybe PCSC should attend its October 6th session:


Afternoon
3,30 Internet Initiatives. Structures and Needs – Meeting the
glocal demands.
Panel: Representatives chosen to showcase successful
ventures in use of new media by Church communicators (Local
papers, Online services, Diocesan Websites, Networked
Diocesan Papers, on-line parish.)

I do like the use of the word" glocal", though. If there are others who have never seen this word before, it's not a typo and this is what it means, courtesy of Wikipedia: "By definition, the term “glocal” refers to the individual, group, division, unit, organisation, and community which is willing and able to “think globally and act locally.” "I believe in One Holy, Catholic, Glocal and Apostolic Church..."

Bringing us down to earth, a commenter on the CNA article about the conference wrote: "Will the conference cover the fact that 9 journalists and relatives have been murdered in Honduras since the Pope said in his Christmas Homily that the Church is helping that country ”rebuild its institutions’? Although this issue received wide recent coverage (Economist. etc..), the Church said nothing." Ouch. We might quibble about the numbers but this comment is basically correct. And one of the Honduran journalists who has received death threats is Padre Melo, the Jesuit priest who runs Radio Progreso. Is a solidarity statement from Rome too much to ask?

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