Thursday, July 24, 2008

The media

Since there are already so many people talking about the spiritual and emotional experience at WYD, my first post here will be about the media's role. A key concern for me about World Youth Day was how it would be portrayed by the media. Historically many newspaper and tv articles have had an anti-catholic bias, and most of the news leading up to wyd was about the protests and complaints, so I was anxious to see the coverage during the event itself.
Thankfully, everything I haue seen so far has been completely positive. According to the news, nowhere near the expected number of protesters turned up, and for all the talk about excessive powers, police only arrested one person for causing a public disturbance. But quite sensibly, the news mostly ignored these trifles to focus on the event itself.
The Pope was on the front page of every newspaper I saw during WYD week. The accompanying pages of articles were nearly all positive, even with regards to his apology. The Daily Telegraph called itself the official WYD newspaper, and certainly did a good job of it, offering the most complete coverage of the events I could find. Friday's Stations of The Cross were covered in a four page centrefold, along with the daily WYD section of the paper. The Final Mass had a special commemerative poster. Even those Australians who didn't see the throngs of pilgrims in the streets can't help noticing WYD, thanks to the prime coverage.
Of course, WYD deserves this sort of attention, if only for the fact that it has been the biggest gathering of people in the history of Australia. But it's certainly refreshing to see the secular world stand up and take notice of the Church in a positive way. We've now got a great opportunity to go out and continue to show the world that as a Church we are alive. Let's give it our best.

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I'd love to hear from you, whether you're attending WYD, or simply journeying spiritually with the pilgrims! I might not be able to reply to comments, but will certainly read them all.