Pope Francis knows: Local news matters

On Sept. 16, Pope Francis met with a delegation of the Regional Journalism Group of the RAI. RAI stands for Radiotelevisione italiana, the national public broadcasting company of Italy; it’s owned by the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

As regular readers know, our approach at The Message is to serve as Southwest Indiana’s Catholic community newspaper. That identity appears at the top of every front page. We cover a community that spans 12 counties, and our vision is to connect you with your Catholic brothers and sisters from Spencer County in the southeast to Sullivan County in the northwest – and all points in between.

During his meeting with RAI journalists, the Holy Father said the following about local news:

“This regional information comes from the territory, with a very precise mission, which is expressed in two directions. The first is to immerse oneself in the daily, local reality, made up of people, events, projects, problems and hopes. The second is to intercept the same reality, to be able to transmit to a wider horizon all those values that belong to the life and history of the people, and at the same time give voice to poverty, challenges, sometimes-urgent issues in the territories, along the streets, meeting families, in places of work. But also to give voice to the places and witnesses of faith.

“That is why I am convinced that local information is not to be considered ‘lesser’ than national information. On the contrary, I would say that it is the most genuine and the most authentic in the mass-media world, since it does not respond to the need for profit or messages to be communicated, but is called to transmit only the voice of the people, in all its aspects and at different times of social, cultural and spiritual life, and has an equally important task in enhancing local realities and cultures, without which even the unity of the nation would not exist.”

We, The Message staff, strive to publish and distribute “the voice of the people” across our diocese. Often, we do that at the expense of national and international news from around the Catholic faith.

We take this approach because we know that you have many outlets from which you can obtain news from outside the diocese. That is not the case with news from our parish communities. We also have learned that you enjoy the content we provide. We started getting requests in early January for the annual Lenten Fish Fry Schedule. We’re always still in Lent when we receive the first requests for the Summer Social Schedule.

Even more important – The Message often is the only media outlet covering many of the important occasions across the diocese. One that immediately comes to mind is the annual St. Maria Goretti Youth Distinction Mass and awards. Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry Steve Dabrowski points that out during the event every year.

To everyone who helps us with contributions of photos from parish and school events, and those who provide advanced notice of events we might want to cover, we thank you. You are helping us provide readers with the news that Pope Francis calls the “most genuine and the most authentic in the mass-media world.”

We are grateful.