.- The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Social Communications says it is very happy with new figures that show over 10,000 people are using its online news site every day.
“I think that for an initiative that is only a few months old these results are really quite positive,” said Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the communications council, in a Jan. 13 interview with CNA. The site, www.news.va, went live in June 2011.
“For example, at Christmas we were having over 16,000 visitors a day, and according to the research, 52 percent of those were new visitors to the site.”
Archbishop Celli also revealed that visitors to the page come from 180 different countries, with many people favoring the live streaming site for papal events.
The Vatican’s news site already operates in English, Spanish and Italian, but it is expanding to other languages. Archbishop Celli said that the site will begin offering news in French this month and in February it will go live in Portuguese.
“So in less than one year we’re having news.va in the five main languages that are used today,” he said.
The Vatican’s news portal was launched by Pope Benedict XVI in June 2011. With the tap of an iPad, the Pope sent a message on Twitter that said, “Dear Friends, I just launched News.va Praised be our Lord Jesus Christ! With my prayers and blessings, Benedictus XVI.”
The site brought together all the Vatican’s communication outlets into one online location for the first time ever. That list includes Fides News Agency, the newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, the Holy See Press Office, the Vatican Information Service, Vatican Radio and the Vatican television service, CTV. However, each news source still maintains its own independent website.
Archbishop Celli briefed Pope Benedict on the latest developments with the new venture during a 20-minute audience on Jan. 13. The two also discussed other projects being carried out by the pontifical council.
“I usually see him every year, as it is my duty to keep the Holy Father informed as to what we are doing and to receive from him advice and to know exactly what he wants from us,” he said.
The archbishop recalled how the Pope expressed “his deep conviction about the value of communication in the Church of today,” with a particular view towards the beginning of the Year of Faith in October 2012.
Archbishop Celli explained that the Pontifical Council for Social Communications has various projects in preparation for the Year of Faith, although he is keeping tight lipped about them at the moment.
“I will keep you informed. Thank you. God bless,” he said with a smile.