On June 28, Pope Benedict XVI will launch the Vatican's first multimedia news portal, which is also designed for mobile devices.
“We are trying to give everybody an opportunity to have Vatican news immediately in a modern and accessible way, using new technology,” said Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, in an interview with CNA on June 27.
He explained that the Pope will have the privilege of giving the “first click” to take the site online, a reflection of the way Pope Pius XI inaugurated the transmission of Vatican Radio 80 years ago.
Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See’s Press Office, explained to CNA that the Pope's first click will be “a simple but powerful and symbolic action,” to demonstrate that the new initiative is a response to “a desire of the Pope for the new communication of the Church.”
One of the most notable new features of www.news.va will be its integration with social networks, and a design geared toward mobile devices such as the iPad. “This is a new approach for us,” Archbishop Celli noted.
The new information source will highlight the Pope's travels, acts and teachings. It will also contain statements released by various departments of the Vatican, news developments from local churches worldwide and information about other important global developments.
“It is synergy, bringing together the contribution of different media,” commented Fr. Lombardi.
At a June 27 press conference, Archbishop Celli said the website was intended as “an expression of our faithfulness and dedication to the Holy Father, for the 60th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.”
He explained that users of the news portal will have access to the main articles printed or transmitted by other Vatican media outlets, including the daily newspaper L'Osservatore Romano and Vatican Radio.
For its first few months, the portal will offer stories and information in Italian and English. Spanish translation will most likely become available in the fall, with French and Portuguese following later.
The main Vatican website will continue to focus on its mission of making papal teachings and statements available online.
“Since it was founded, the Vatican website has served as a source of documentation and so it will remain, working in harmony with the new portal,” Archbishop Celli said.