Pope Francis' five tips for journalists
The pope met with members of the Stampa Estera Association. They are foreign correspondents based in Italy. He gave them the following advises and messages:
As he has said in the past, the pope thanked journalists for denouncing abuses within the Church.
“I want to tell you first of all that I appreciate your work. The Church appreciates you, even when you put your finger on the wound."
Pope Francis asked them to be rigorous in their work and objective in order to report professionally. He gave an example: do not give a voice to the one who cries the loudest but to the one who speaks the truth.
“I therefore urge you to work in accordance with truth and justice, so that communication is truly an instrument for building, not for destroying, to give voice to those who have no voice, not to act as a megaphone for those who scream louder.”
Humility was a point the pope insisted on the most. He asked journalists not to be careerists and neither write news according to preconceived ideas. Instead, he recommended them to humbly investigate each topic in depth, even if it seems they already know a great deal.
Pope Francis reminded them in the age of Internet, publishing a news story without first having investigated it can cause serious and irreparable damage.
“A correction is always necessary when you are wrong, but it is not enough to restore dignity, especially at a time when, through the Internet, false information can be spread to the point of appearing authentic.”
The pope especially remembered journalists who have been murdered and called for freedom of expression. He asked the press not to forget wars or humanitarian crises that no one remembers.
“Let me ask you this: who is talking about the Rohingya today? Who is talking about the Yazidi today? They are forgotten and continue to suffer.”
Pope Francis asked them not to forget to tell what is good in the world, because there are many great stories that go unnoticed.
“Please continue to tell that part of reality which, thanks be to God, is still the most widespread. This is the reality of those who do not give in to indifference, of those who do not flee in the face of injustice, but who patiently build in silence.”
Pope Francis gave many other advises such as not to let oneself be dominated by haste, to stop and find the necessary time to understand well events before writing about them.
He also called on journalists not to label or use the offensive and violent language that some use on social networks.
The pope recommended telling good stories and not just bad ones. This is because they serve as an example and convey hope. For this reason, he asked them to be brave and to go against the tide in a society where immediacy, appearance, superficiality and indifference seem to dominate.