Home   |  About Us   |  Contacts   |  Products    
 News Items
 Top Stories
 News Briefs
 Also Featuring
 Movie Reviews
 Sunday Scripture
 CNS Blog
 Links to Clients
 Major Events
 2008 papal visit
 World Youth Day
 John Paul II
 For Clients
 Client Login
 CNS Insider
 We're also on ...
 RSS Feeds
 Top Stories
 Movie Reviews
 CNS Blog
 For More Info

 If you would like
 more information
 about Catholic
 News Service,
 please contact
 CNS at one of
 the following:
 (202) 541-3250


 This material
 may not
 be published,
 rewritten or
 except by
 linking to
 a page on
 this site.

 CNS Story:

VATICAN-NEWS (UPDATED) Jun-29-2011 (480 words) With photos posted June 28. xxxi

Pope launches Vatican web portal, tweets the news

Archbishop Claudio Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, assists Pope Benedict XVI with the new Vatican news portal on an iPad at the Vatican June 28. (CNS/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

By Sarah Delaney and John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI inaugurated the Vatican's online news portal with a click, and then announced the launch with the first-ever papal tweet.

"Dear Friends, I just launched News.va. Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI," the pope said in his message on the news site's Twitter account.

His tweet -- 117 characters -- went viral, and within 24 hours http://twitter.com/news_va_en had more than 35,000 followers.

The pope was flanked by Vatican communications officials June 28 as he tapped an iPad and officially launched www.news.va, which aggregates news content from the Vatican's newspaper, radio, television and online outlets.

The pontiff was then given a brief tour of the portal's features. The launch came on the eve of the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul and the 60th anniversary of Pope Benedict's ordination into the priesthood.

Archbishop Claudio Celli, who heads the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said at a news conference June 27 that the site would streamline news from the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano; Vatican Radio; the Vatican television station, CTV; the Vatican Information Service, VIS; the Fides missionary news agency; the Vatican press office; and the main Vatican website.

It offers print, video and audio material in Italian and English. New languages will be added gradually, beginning with Spanish, followed probably by French and Portuguese, he said.

Thaddeus Jones, an official of the pontifical council who coordinated the creation of the portal, said the site gives all the news generated by the various information sources but will highlight the latest most important items of the day.

It features a list of the 10 most-read stories and offers links to many social network sites. Users can share content through Facebook, Twitter and email, Jones said.

Gustavo Entrala, CEO of 101, the Spanish digital media agency chosen for the technical development of the new site, said it was constructed on a high-end flexible platform that allows millions of people to use it at the same time.

The first big test, said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, head of the Vatican press office, will be the World Youth Day event in Madrid Aug. 16-21, which will be attended by Pope Benedict and which is expected to generate heavy traffic to the site.

Costs of the development and maintenance of the site will be borne exclusively through donations from private organizations and foundations, Archbishop Celli said. It will not be supported at present or in the future by advertising or other commercial initiatives, he said.

While Pope Benedict may not appear to be a media-savvy pontiff, Archbishop Celli said, "in reality, with this pope Vatican communications have made enormous strides."

The archbishop gave as an example the pope's reply when his advisers proposed an appearance on YouTube. According to the archbishop, the pope replied, "I want to be present wherever the people are found."


Copyright (c) 2011 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.
CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250