16 December 2014

An ecclesial media disconnect: pictures and words

Sometimes I wonder who is in charge of selecting photographs to accompany news stories.

As just one very simple example, News.va posted this photograph yesterday from the Holy Father's Angelus address this past Sunday to its Facebook page:

I happen to like this photograph of Pope Francis, both because it shows him as he is frequently seen (by which I mean that he, like me, does not have a natural smile on his face most of the time) and because it is a perfectly meme-worthy photo.

Now, looking at the photo above, what words do you think would fittingly accompany it? Something about the Pope correcting someone or giving an admonition or a directive, right? Of course.

Here is the text that actually accompanied the photograph, without any changes:
Pope Francis at Angelus: “Be missionaries of joy!!”

“Be missionaries of joy! Pray with perseverance, to always give thanks to God, to seek what is good and avoid what is evil. “If this is our way of life, the Good News would be able to enter into so many homes and help people and families to rediscover that in Jesus there is salvation!”
I don't think much - and clearly not enough - thought went into the selection of this photograph.

It is also best to accompany a news story - however brief - with a photograph that not only corresponds to the story being presented, but that is also from the same (the recent debacle of the media stories about the Pope's alleged words about dogs going to heaven is but one glaring example). Now, it is certainly possible that Pope Francis did not smile at all during the Angelus address, but other photographs from Sunday prove such a theory to be incorrect, like this one, which is also from L'Osservatore Romano and was also posted to the Facebook page of News.va:

Isn't this a far better picture to accompany the text above? I thought so, too.

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