Vatican Taps Former Hong Kong Gov. Chris Patten to Help Devise Digital Era Media Strategy

Argentina's cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, elected Pope

ROME – The Vatican has appointed former Hong Kong  Gov. Chris Patten as head of a committee to advise Pope Francis on how to improve media strategy in the digital age.

Patten, 70, who is also the former chairman of the BBC Trust, will head up the 11-member Vatican media committee which will seek to improve the Vatican’s wide-range of media outlets, which comprises daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican TV Center and Vatican Radio.

At a Vatican City press conference the Holy See’s new head of economic affairs, Cardinal George Pel, said the committee’s goals will be to revamp and modernize Vatican media and develop a digital strategy to help boost the number of faithful reached, currently estimated at around 10% of the global total 137 million Catholic population. He said he expected the committee to “recognize that the world of the media has changed radically and is changing.”

Vatican Radio, for example, broadcasts in 40 languages and accounts for a big portion of the Vatican’s media budget. But “no longer in most parts of the world do people listen very frequently to the radio,” the cardinal said.

Last year the Vatican hired international consultancy McKinsey to prepare a report on how to improve Vatican communications. The new media committee, which will become operational in autumn, will review that report, the Vatican said.

They also have an external media adviser, Greg Burke, an American former Fox News correspondent hired two years ago.

The Vatican already has a number of Internet sites and Twitter accounts, including @pontifex, from which Pope Francis tweets to his more than 4 million followers. But they will be using more digital media to reach a wider, younger, audience, even hoping to expand its reach beyond practicing Catholics.


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  1. Mika'el says:

    You have to be able to reach the young people because the old people are pretty jaded towards this whole Roman institution. Next thing you know they will hire a propaganda team to re-write history in a few years to hide the atrocities their church has committed. Go Vicar, go!

  2. SamQuimbo says:

    I am so happy and proud that the Holy See under the strong leadership of his holiness Pope Francis has embarked in such an admirable endeavor and it could not have made a better choice than having Gov. Chris Patten lead the charge. One good news after another from the Vatican this week! I was still relishing the news about the across-the-board revamp of the IOR and then this one. I thank the Holy Spirit for inspiring the Holy Father and the rest of the church leadership to bring the message of Christ to the faithful and the rest of the world more effectively.

  3. Pope Francis is “casting the net” into the deeper waters. He is truly following in the footsteps of St. Peter and the Apostles. God bless the Pope!

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