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How Announcement of New Argentinean Pope Became the Ultimate Textbook Example in Our Workshop

Posted on the 14 March 2013 by Themarioblog @garciainteract

This blog will be updated as needed as we would like to add images of printed newspaper front pages covering the new Pope’s announcement
Update #3: Wednesday, March 13, Bahia Blanca, Argentina, 22:17

TAKEAWAY: While we were conducting a session about the role of breaking news in today’s multi media environment, suddenly the best possible example erupted in our midst—the naming of the first Latin American, first Jesuit and first non-European Pope.

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Argentinean television covers the news of the naming of Pope Francis

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We have an Argentine Pope

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His first mass will be March 19

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His name is Francisco

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I chat with editors before the workshop started Wednesday: one hour later, news of the new Pope broke

It was mid-afternoon Wednesday. I was totally engaged here in Argentina with members of La Nueva Provincia’s team, in anticipation of tomorrow’s workshop to take this regional newspaper to the next level. Suddenly, and just about at the moment when I prepared to answer a question about the role of each platform in breaking news, a very enthused online editor, Abel Escudero Zadrayec, jumped out of his seat and said, in a low voice: “Mario, we have an Argentinean Pope.“

Hard to describe the faces of those journalists in the room, most of whom got up quickly to return to the newsroom, with that quick and sure step that journalists everywhere adopt when they know they have a big story to cover.

A lot of our discussion in this first part of Project Nostalgia, up to the breaking news of the Pope, had been about La Nueva Provincia’s internal work methodology. Here print takes priority to online, and editors identified themselves as “print” or “digital” as I went around the room. More importantly, some of the journalists in the room asked me if they should “keep” some exclusive news to break it on paper, not online.

This was the ultimate breaking news

It was in the midst of this discussion that the news of the new Pope appeared.  One could hear one beep after another on the various mobile devices in the room.

As the online editor got up to return to the newsroom, I jokingly asked:

Is this news that you will hold for print tomorrow?

Of course not. However, we had spent one hour already talking about the role of the printed newspaper (it is not the protagonist, it is part of the media quartet), and I had answered questions about writing headlines for news that may be a day out of date when the printed paper appears (write the second day headline the first day). Now these journalists, editors and designers had to deal with the biggest story for Argentina in a long, long time.

Indeed, the news of the new Pope went on the online edition of immediately, just as it did on the website of every news outlet in the world.

What will printed editions do?

Now I wait anxiously for what the La Nueva Provincia editors will do with print.  By the time morning arrives, there will not be a single Argentinean (or anyone else, for that matter) who will not be aware that Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, has become Pope Francis, the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the first non-European leader of the church in more than 1,000 years, the first Jesuit and the first Latin American.

While printed newspapers have an obligation to cover the event well (“We are the newspaper of record”), something we all understand well, it is also important not to give the printed page a dated look with a tired headline. So I would suggest one think of advancing the story, starting with the headline, which should say more than what people already know.

As our workshop session ended, I saw journalists dispersed to the newsroom. Here it was, the kind of news day that every journalist dreams about, with what is likely to be one of Argentina’s all-time major news events—in a country that is used to an abundance of monumentally significant news.

The man in the street and the new Pope

For Argentineans, a majority of whom describe themselves as Catholics, this new Pope being one of them is a source of pride.

I think this will be great for the Argentina brand,“ Rodrigo Fino, of our Garcia Media Latinoamerica in Buenos Aires, told me soon after the announcement of the new Pope. “We need to be mentioned in a positive way, and this does it. The fact that we will soon have a queen, when Maxima becomes the Queen of the Netherlands, adds to all these positive developments for Argentina.

I added that it does not hurt to also have Lionel Messi, the soccer star who continues to surprise with his incredible talent for scoring goals.

However, some of the Argentineans I talked to following the workshop also show some skepticism as to the new Pope’s role in reforming the Catholic Church.

A woman journalist who preferred not to be identified told me this:

While I am so proud to be Argentinean today, and while I wish the new Pope well, I am also hoping he becomes the Pope that the Church needs to reform itself, I have some doubt that Pope Francis will be the one to do this, based on his record here. While he has gone public rejecting material excess and insisting on a life of simplicity, Pope Francis also opposes the country’s social liberalism. He has been at odds with our President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner for her support of legalizing same sex marriage and abortions. He is also quite traditional in discussing the role of women in the church.

These are hot-button items not just in Argentina, but among the entire flock of Catholics that the new Pope will be guiding. We will watch with interest.

Project Nostalgia

No doubt that our workshop now will be richer because, as we start the workshop Thursday morning, we will start with a review of how this amazing breaking news appeared in the various platforms.

Thursday is also the day when we will begin the process to establish the guidelines for how a modern newsroom approaches news via four platforms.  It is an exciting time for La Nueva Provincia.

It is an exciting time for Argentina as well.

Coming Friday

Some specifics of what direction La Nueva Provincia will take in a multi platform world.

Of related interest:

Read Rodrigo Fino’s views about his compatriot Pope Francis (in Spanish):

Some we like:

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Where’s Mario until March 21, 2013?

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Mario’s upcoming speaking engagements

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Take advantage of our iPad Design/Ad Lab workshops

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Do you want to take your brand to the next level by creating a tablet edition? Garcia Media can help. We now offer one- to two-day iPad Design Lab workshops on demand to jumpstart your presence on this exciting new platform. We also offer iPad Ad Lab workshops to develop engaging advertising models for your app. Contact us for more information.

How announcement of new Argentinean Pope became the ultimate textbook example in our workshop

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