Editor's Briefing

Luke Coppen's Catholic Herald Blog

The Italian press: a health warning

with one comment

Leading American Vatican-watcher John Allen has issued an uncharacteristically stark warning about the Italian press. He argues that the country’s daily newspapers are an increasingly unreliable guide to the Vatican.

To be sure, Italian journalism has its strengths. It’s more art than craft, so correspondents are encouraged to bring their personalities into the coverage. That often makes their essays provocative and highly original. A concern for factual accuracy, however, does not figure prominently among its virtues. Sometimes speculation or hypotheses run on the news pages, without much indication that they’re not to be taken seriously.

Of course, Italians know all that, and they’re highly sophisticated about reading between the lines. When this speculation is translated into other languages and taken as real news, however, it can cause a great deal of mischief – especially, perhaps, in Anglo-Saxon cultures, where we’re still at least somewhat inclined to assume that what appears on the news pages is factually true.

I’d be interested to know if Allen would include L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican daily whose colourful coverage of Church affairs is inspiring newspaper stories around the world, in his warning.

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Written by Luke Coppen

October 7, 2009 at 2:07 pm

One Response

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  1. “increasingly unreliable”- I never understood them to be reliable in the first place!

    Chris Gillibrand

    October 7, 2009 at 2:26 pm


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