Are the bishops more media savvy?

Are the bishops more media savvy?

The National Catholic Reporter says the US bishops are more media savvy now than before the Scandal, but the story itself reflects a mixed bag. Some bishops are more media savvy, but others aren’t. And what does it mean to be media savvy? It looks the operating definition is having the bishop personally available to the media, but that’s not necessarily right in all cases.

On the other hand, I’ve long been a proponent that the Church become more proactive in dealing with the media with regard to difficult stories, and stop reacting and being defensive. Barry McLaughlin is a consultant with the USCCB(ureaucracy) who does media training for the bishops and says that merely putting a happy face on bad news isn’t the solution.

“The message I’m giving them is, I expect the bishop and the church to do the right thing in response to the wrong thing being done.” And the right thing, in McLoughlin’s view, is to be open in messages through the media.

It’s a sad day when we need a media consultant to tell bishops that they should do the right thing and tell the truth.

What too many bishops forget is that their primary means of communication with the Catholics of their dioceses is not the diocesan newspaper, parish bulletins, or Sunday homilies, but the mass media. They need to see it as a tool they can use to get the message out and what is the Church about if not spreading a Message?

Not as savvy as they think

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1 comment
  • Media Savy…..hmmmmmm I have a few reflections on this subject…..

    I remember back at the height of the sexual abuse crisis a press conference with the leaders of the Bishops Conference ‘meeting the press’. One now retired Cardinal was speaking and acting as if the press were a meeting of the Sodality or Holy Name Society. I was dumbstruck by his naivete. These were lions he was encountering not pious doves! He thought smiling and putting positive words out there would ‘satisfy’ the combination outrage and cries for satisfaction AND media feeding frenzy. Of course time proved his eminence wrong.

    Don’t get me wrong here. I would not want to face that press conference either BUT as the ancient Chinese philosopher of war once stated, “Before a battle one must know one’s enemy”  At Vatican II we became open to the ‘Modern World’-and we needed to-but there has been a great naivete on the part of many in the Church-bishops, priests and laity. Some thinking that we need to be open to the world’s agenda and be transformed by it   Others thinking that the modern world is just waiting there to talk with us on an equal playing field. Both are wrong.

    What we need is to ask the intercession of Saint Daniel and learn how to go into the lion’s den. Not to put positive spin on things but learn how to deal with the lions.  Saint Mark, whose symbol is the lion, is the patron of journalists-his Gospelalmost sounds like a news report-learn from Daniel and Mark to deal with the lions and have them help us communicate the Gospel of the Lion of Judah smile