Catholic Press Association 11 01 2015 E Edition Page 1

THE CATHOLIC JOURNALIST CATHOLIC PRESS ASSOCIATION OF THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA VOLUME 67 NUMBER 9 NOVEMBER 2015 Commentary The Media Ministry By James Martin, S.J. I try not to write too often about working with the me- dia because it can sound like "Look at me, I'm on TV." It is also a threat to humility, an occupational hazard for anyone who has ever appeared in print or on television. Nonetheless, part of our ministry at America is helping the so-called secular media. In the words of John Courtney Murray, S.J. (or Pedro Arrupe, S.J, or Daniel Lord, S.J., or St. Ignatius Loyola, depending on your "sourcing"), one way to understand the work of Jesuits and our colleagues is that we help explain the church to the world and the world to the church. During Pope Francis' visit to the United States last month, then, many of us at America spent time assisting the secular media. For me, it was a great grace to follow the pope from Washington to New York to Philadelphia, and I also had a delightful time working with the mainstream media - mainly ABC News. At the same time, in every city I heard comments from fellow Catholics that reminded me that not everyone thinks as positively as I do about the media. So I thought I'd share with you, based on 15 years' experience, reflections on the most common complaints. * * * The media is anti-Catholic. Now, I have occasionally run into journalists in print, online, on the radio and on television (as well as editors of newspapers, magazines and websites, and producers of news programs) who have an antipathy to our church. Nonetheless, the vast majority do not and simply want to get the story right. And when it comes to religion reporters, I can say categorically that I've never met a single one who is anti-Catholic. By contrast, as a result of years of reporting, religion reporters have encountered so many inspiring bishops, priests, brothers, sisters and lay Catholics that they usually have an abiding affection for the church. Indeed, non-Catholic religion reporters may know more about the Catholic Church than the average Catholic. For they have met sisters who work in the slums, priests who spend long hours in the confessional, brothers who teach patiently in classrooms and committed lay leaders dedicated to helping others. Also, it's important to distinguish between attacks on the church and critiques of it. When The Boston Globe ran its extensive series of articles on the sexual abuse crisis in the early 2000s, for example, Cardinal Bernard Law, then archbishop of Boston, said he "called down the power of God on the Boston media . . . particularly The Globe." But although The National Catholic Reporter ran a remarkable series of articles on abuse in the 1990s, and some of the pieces that ran in The Globe were unfair, their coverage overall was not only fair; but it is in large part because of The Globe that the church in the United States was forced to confront the abuse crisis. The church both deserved criticism and benefited by it. * * * The media deliberately misrepresents the church. Sometimes the media make mistakes about the church. Sometimes they are big ones: misunderstanding a papal document, misinterpreting something that the pope says Please turn to page 6 The Catholic Journalist C atholic media across the continent pulled out all the stops to bring the words and images of Pope Francis to readers and viewers when the Holy Father visited Cuba and the United States this September. Websites and publications from Catholic dioceses, religious communities and organizations opened their pages to scores of photos, volumes of stories, hours of video and often non-stop traffic on social media to capture all that Pope Francis was doing and saying at each and every site and event of the visit. Editors, reporters, photographers and videographers from diocesan newspapers and magazines covered the visit, complementing the coverage from Catholic News Service, and some took advantage of crowd-sourcing from members of their local communities to increase the range of coverage. They found local angles to the national story as well, featuring stories about those from their communities who were among the fortunate invited to meet the pope personally as well as about those who traveled from their dioceses to be with the pope in Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia. Many Catholic media carried a live video stream of the pope's visit, and more than a few took the opportunity to wax philosophical about the trip in editorials, on commen- tary pages and in blogs. And, none of the above would have gone off so smoothly if not for the wisdom and grace of Helen Osman, a Catholic Press Association St. Francis de Sales Award winner, who as former secretary of communications for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was the national coordinator for communications for the papal visit. All Francis, all the time It's important to distinguish between attacks on the church and critiques of it. How we covered the pope More examples of papal visit coverage, pages 2-3 North Texas Catholic magazine, Fort Worth

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