June 27, 2011

Vatican Goes Tech, Launches Online News Portal

Perhaps The Vatican has just realized that technology can and will be its friend when it comes to disseminating information to the masses.

In fact, the home of The Holy See has launched http://www.news.va, a website in English and Italian, and will act as an aggregate for all the Vatican’s news outlets.

The portal is being launched Wednesday which is 60th anniversary of Benedict's ordination as a priest, according to The Associated Press.

Monsignor Claudio Maria Celli, who heads the Vatican office that developed the portal and will maintain it, said Benedict may put the site online himself with a click from the Apostolic Palace. The Vatican has worked out that it needs to evangelize its message to a greater, Internet-savvy audience.

The portal will group all sources of information from Vatican, including newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Radio Vatican, Vatican Information Service (VIS), Center for Television in the Vatican, the Holy See Press Office and Fides Agency, the information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies.

The new website will be available at the beginning in English and Italian. Starting in autumn, versions in Spanish, French, German and Portuguese will be launched. One of the features of the new portal is its interaction with social network Facebook (News - Alert) and microblogging platform Twitter.

That’s right, Vatican has gone social.

Earlier in May, Vatican opened its doors for other technological endeavors and hosted its first ever blogging summit.

The conference was hosted by the Pontifical Council for Culture and drew a large amount of interest with over 750 bloggers applying to attend and over 9 million Google (News - Alert) hits on the subject.

Monsignor Paul Tighe, a member of the Vatican's social communications office, said the Catholic Church is beginning to realize that its traditional means of communication are no longer sufficient.

“It's very much a first step, to meet with, to hear their concerns, to try to talk about some of the things we’re doing and see if people want to take it further or how they think it might be helpful to take the discussion further,” Tighe had said.

The Vatican has been seeking more and more to engage with the world online – for the beatification of Pope John Paul II, the Vatican instituted a special Facebook page, Twitter account, ran clips of his 27-year pontificate on its YouTube (News - Alert) channel and let the faithful send electronic postcards to one another via its youth-based news portal about what they were experiencing.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

Michelle Amodio is a TMCnet contributor. She has helped promote companies and groups in all industries, from technology to banking to professional roller derby. She holds a bachelor's degree in Writing from Endicott College and currently works in marketing, journalism, and public relations as a freelancer.

Edited by Jennifer Russell