Pope Benedict XVI has launched today News.va, the all-new portal of the Vatican created to integrate various Vatican communication activities. A link has been already provided for your convenience under Links (Catholic).
By clicking you’ll find easy access to news from the Osservatore Romano (this is very impressive: it is now 7pm in the UK and there is a beautiful .pdf version of Tomorrow’s “Osservatore” that you can read online, for free), from the news agency Fides, from the Press Office of the Vatican and from other media and information sources. You can even click and listen directly to the Vatican radio, in several languages.
Even a layman like me notices that this is not something patched together in an approximate way. Wherever you click, the format remains the same, the information seamlessly integrated in the site whilst at the same time giving you the possibility to access the relevant media (to listen to the radio, to read the newspaper, to go to the “Osservatore Romano”‘s site instead of reading from the news.va platform).
You can share everything at your heart’s content of course, and in a sign of the times the Pope has sent the news of the start of the service with a tweet (another sign of the times being that he has done so from an iPad; Steve Jobs sends his greetings and if I were him, the relevant image would go in the ads planetwide… ).
It all works fine, and makes a good impression to this layman. It is easy to use and very convenient in the possibilities it opens. For example, I had never thought of listening to the Vatican Radio on the internet; but now it is only a couple of clicks away, in my language of choice.
If Pope Benedict wanted to give himself some nice toy for his sixtieth anniversary of ordination, I must say he has chosen a beautiful and perfectly useful one.
Ad multos annos!