Pope Francis to Italian Media: People Are More Valuable Than ‘Hits’

Journalists, editors and technicians from TV2000, the Italian bishops’ conference broadcasting station, met with the Pope on Dec. 15.

(photo: CNA/Marta Jiménez Ibáñez)

VATICAN CITY — Catholics working in media would do well to remember that communications is about informing people — not collecting “hits,” Pope Francis told representatives from the Italian station TV2000.

Journalists, editors and technicians from TV2000, the Italian bishops’ conference broadcasting station, met with the Pope in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall on Dec. 15.

Addressing those who work in Italian Church television, Pope Francis presented three points of consideration that lie “at the heart” of communications.

First, the Pope said, Catholic media has the “challenging mission” of trying to protect social communications from being “twisted and bent” for other purposes. Rooted in conviction, good communications come from the courage to speak candidly and freely. Otherwise, what is communicated comes across as fake, uninformative and bland.

Communicators should also, through an openness to the Holy Spirit, work toward unity and harmony. By this, he said, they should avoid saturating the public with an “excess of slogans” and simple solutions that do not take into account the “complexities of real life.”

Last, Pope Francis stressed that communicators should not be concerned with the number of “hits” to stories they receive online, but with speaking “to the whole person.”

The Pope also highlighted the “three sins” that communicators must avoid: misinformation, slander and defamation. While the most “insidious” of these would appear to be slander, he continued, the most serious, in terms of communication, is in fact misinformation, for it “leads you to believe only one part of the truth.”

Pope Francis concluded his address by thanking those present for their work in the field of Catholic television, entrusting them to Mary and St. Gabriel — “the great communicator,” who “communicated the Good News.”

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