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Continued: Conclave media circus: Why this reporter's staying home

  • Article by: JEFFREY WEISS , Real Clear Religion
  • Last update: March 12, 2013 - 2:06 PM

That’s still an issue the next pope will be dealing with, I’d say.

“One concern that will be on the next pope’s list, though perhaps not near the top, the archbishop said: Whether celibate homosexuals should be allowed to attend seminaries and become priests.”

Hm. “Homosexuality is incompatible with the priestly vocation,” wrote Benedict XVI unambiguously in his book Light of the World.

“The next pope will need to be even more media savvy, and in ways John Paul II couldn’t have imagined at the start of his papacy, said the Rev. Steven Lopes of San Francisco, a graduate student at Rome’s Pontifical North American College.”

This one’s another clear winner: Benedict XVI became the first Tweeting pontiff. Betcha the next guy gets even more digital.

But the truth is that I could have done much the same talking head story from Dallas. And the truth is that the most important issues -- why and how the papacy matters -- are much more easily detailed back home and a long way from the mob.

I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be reporters there. If, perish the thought, something evil happens, the world will be well served by having journalists in place. And there is some value for beat reporters to hang out with the penumbra of characters, sources and experts who gravitate to an event like this.

But in 2013, anything that happens in public will be streamed live to anybody with a smartphone. Maybe it still matters to readers and viewers to see a familiar name covering an event like this in situ. But if there ever were a journalistic justification, it’s mostly long gone.

I’ll be looking for a story by a visiting reporter in the next week or so that has actual news that couldn’t have been as easily gleaned from any seat in the world with wifi and phone. If you spot one, let me know.


Jeffrey Weiss is a veteran religion reporter based in Dallas. He wrote this column for Real Clear Religion.

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