Minor earthquake at Vatican – pope’s daily goes colour
Readers of this blog will have noticed my interest in the changes creeping into L’Osservatore Romano, the daily newspaper of an institution that, as the saying goes, “thinks in centuries.” Under its new editor Giovanni Maria Vian, the Vatican broadsheet has been slowly making up for a delay of decades in terms of its presentation and content. It’s still far from your usual morning newspaper and never will be like it. But “the pope’s paper” did make a cautious switch to colour photos at the weekend, bringing it — in newspaper layout terms — into the late 20th century. By contrast, the articles are more fresh and timely and varied than ever before.
The switch to colour has prompted several other readers to write about the changes, reassuring me that my interest was not just nostalgia for the last time I saw an official organ starting to blossom out of blandness (Neues Deutschland after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989). Our Vatican correspondent Phil Pullella calls it a “quiet revolution.” John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter talks about “the latest stage of revolution at pope’s newspaper.” The changes have also prompted a crop of articles in Italian, French, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese.