Vincent Pham goes on camera at the Salt + Light studios during the Youth Speak News retreat May 2018. Photo by Ena Goquiolay

Speaking Out: Lessons from Catholic media

By  Vincent Pham, Speaking Out
  • March 7, 2019

Recent revelations that Fr. Thomas Rosica admitted to committing plagiarism came as a surprise to me, having over the years read a number of his books and articles. 

But despite all the stories, I am grateful for the experiences I’ve received in Catholic media. After attending the Youth Speak News workshops for the first time in May 2018 and visiting Salt + Light Media headquarters where Fr. Rosica is CEO, I contacted him about the possibility of a co-op placement. He and the Salt + Light team welcomed me with open arms. 

Working as a co-op student at Salt + Light supplemented the great experiences I have had on Youth Speak News. While The Catholic Register and Salt + Light deliver Catholic news using different mediums, I have learned many universal lessons.

No matter what medium, it takes a team to put together a story, a newspaper, a show or a documentary. Being part of YSN and Salt + Light allowed me to see how much effort is put into a piece that is produced, from the person investigating the facts to the marketing team which helps promote the finished product to all audiences. 

People who work in the field of Catholic media strive to do their part with the hope that the Truth will reach their audience. Authentic Catholic media presents a story or topic as it is, without any embellishments.

I have learned that fact-checking is important. The extra of couple minutes to make sure a statement is credible and correct is essential in delivering a truthful story. 

I have also learned that Catholic media requires one to be selfless. While a journalist may want to tell a story a certain way, it is vital that they remove themselves from the storyline and not make assumptions and draw conclusions. It is also through this act of selflessness that those in Catholic media see their role and their passions as an act of service to the Church.

I am not implying that those who work in Catholic media are perfect. There are mistakes that are made along the way, some more grave than others. I myself have made mistakes, which is why I understand that our flaws as individual communicators should not overshadow the achievements and good deeds that Catholic media represent. 

I have been blessed to have had the chance to work under Fr. Rosica at Salt + Light. I learned he is a priest who has contributed much to the Catholic Church as the CEO of World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto, as a Vatican spokesman, as an advisor to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, as CEO of Salt + Light… the list is endless. 

On a personal level, his unscripted homilies during staff Masses are simple but have touched me in many ways. All of that should not be overlooked. 

For any mistake, there are certainly consequences. However, it is also important that we recognize those mistakes, learn from them and strive to put the full truth on display. 

(Pham, 18, is a Grade 12 student at Chaminade College School in Toronto.)

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