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Vatican Communication Reform

Thursday 28 April 2016, by SIGNIS

Rome, April, 28th, 2016 (Zenit). The reform of the Vatican’s various communications offices is underway and will end in 2018, unifying a very articulated structure. This was reported this week by the Prefect of the Secretariat of Communication, Monsignor Edoardo Vigano in an annual course that brings together both Church and secular journalists to consider the Church’s communication in a digital context.

“The reform stems from the idea that the most important patrimony is that of human resources,” he said, “not forgetting that with the reform an economy of scale comes into force, which makes possible a reduction of the costs, and this is important.”

It is “not about a coordination, or about changing the names of roles, but about the processes of communication and also about the means that form part of it,” so that it is “the most effective possible in keeping with the mission of the Church.” All this means reclassification, formation and updating processes.

For instance, it is necessary to know that the consumer of information on the Internet is also a transmitter. In other words, the scenario has changed, the means of accessing learning, the systems of knowledge. This new scenario — “without forgetting the great tradition of Vatican Radio and/or of L’Osservatore Romano — puts everything in an integrated framework of unitary management.”

The key points, indicated by the Prefect, “are new production processes. Today each means carries out its production in a vertical manner, and they must be thought in transversal ideas, a container that can serve all the outgoing channels, with attention to the interlocutors.”

How can realities with great glories be reformed? The method was christened as that “of the onion,” which is made of layers, extracts and, he joked, “it’s not called artichoke because an onion always makes a tear fall. In a process of reform, it isn’t pathological but yes physiological or natural for a tear to fall.”

The Prefect pointed out that the process began with a Motu Proprio, which in 2015 created the Secretariat of Communication, to which the Press Office and the Internet service were fused. The Pontifical Council of Communications was dissolved into the Secretariat because it became the Pastoral Theological Department. The Press Office continues and will be the office of institutional communication. The Internet service, instead, includes all the engineers and technicians of the Vatican Television Center and the Radio, and they are the vertebral column of the technological fusion.

In 2016 the Television and Radio have united, which is easy, but there is the difficulty of the Radio’s great redactions, with much personnel. Next year L’Osservatore Romano, the Libreria Editrice Vaticana, the photographic service and the typography will fuse.

In addition, the Secretariat created the Pontifex twitter account and Franciscus on Instagram. The moment of verification will be in 2018, with an economic consolidation at least in the economy of scale.

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