Vatican Radio's transmission center is seen in Santa Maria di Galeria, about 16 miles northwest of the Vatican. CNS photo/Paul Haring

Technology brings change to Vatican communications

By  Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service
  • June 13, 2012

VATICAN CITY - Vatican Radio will end its short- and medium-wave broadcasts to Europe and North and South America July 1, and a month later the Vatican press office will close the Vatican Information Service, a multilingual daily summary of papal speeches and appointments.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office and of Vatican Radio, announced the changes June 12, saying they were responses to developments in technology and would save the Vatican money.

The changes at Vatican Radio, he said, should save the Vatican “hundreds of thousands” of dollars just in electricity bills each year. But the radio station is not reducing the number of programs or the 40 languages in which the programs are produced.

The decision to stop the short- and medium-wave broadcasts reflect the fact that Europe, North and South America are well covered by local radio stations that re-broadcast Vatican Radio programs and a large portion of their populations have access to radio programs via the Internet.

Short- and medium-wave broadcasts to Africa, parts of the Middle East and Asia will continue, he said, because fewer people have access to the Internet there and most of the stations rebroadcasting Vatican Radio programs are located only in big cities.

The Vatican Information Service, which provides summaries of Vatican news in daily English, French or Spanish e-mails to 60,000 subscribers, will be replaced by a multilingual summary of the Vatican press office’s daily news bulletin, he said.

VIS, which traditionally suspended publication for the month of August, will end operations July 31 and the new multilingual bulletin will debut in September, Lombardi said.

Lombardi said five members of VIS’ seven-member staff will work for the press office, either translating entire papal speeches or at least providing summaries of them in English, French and Spanish. The other two staffers, he said, would join the team producing www.news.va, a Vatican news aggregator, which publishes in English, French, Spanish and Italian.

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