"Covering the Pope: a guide for journalists"
A tongue-in-cheek guide for journalists on the Catholic beat offers a critique of papal media coverage in "Britain's leading Catholic newspaper," the Catholic Herald:
If in doubt, be vague and waffly about the purpose of any protests – especially if there doesn’t appear to be one. Those nice Christian folk only “turn the other cheek” anyway; not like the protesters, who, if they don’t get due praise and coverage, will bombard your switchboard with anguished complaints and flood the blogosphere with manufactured outrage at your lack of thoroughness.
Any rumour of a potential walk-out from politicians or other religious leaders in response to an appearance by Pope should be reported as fact - in other words, as though it had already happened. Don’t correct your story if it turns out only that a tiny proportion of the loonier fringes of Government failed to show up. That’s just splitting hairs.
Deploy the trinity of divided, divisive and division. These words should be on the tip of your tongue at all times. Remember, the Pope’s opinions are dangerous and alarming: don’t let him get away with expressing an opinion without slathering your copy in withering invective. It’s also useful to mash up different sorts of Christianity: the readers don’t know the difference between Archbishop Rowan Williams and Archbishop Vincent Nichols anyway, and it helps to convey the sense that the Church is fractured and damaged.
Read the full piece here.