ROME – After the recent rebranding and consolidation of the Vatican’s various media outlets, their different platforms have now reached a total of more than 4 million followers, who receive their daily papal news with a fresh logo.
According to a Jan. 9 communique from the Secretariat for Communications, Vatican media now has an online community of more than 4 million followers between the Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram platforms.
The numbers, the secretariat said, are the result of the continuing reform of Vatican communications launched in 2014 by Pope Francis and his nine cardinal advisors who make up the Council of Cardinals, which meets every few months to discuss the ongoing reform of the Roman Curia.
In order to map out what a possible reform of Vatican communications would look like, the pope in 2014 established an international commission headed by British Lord Chris Patten to study the current process and provide suggestions.
Francis then established the Secretariat for Communications in June 2015, naming Italian Monsignor Dario Vigano as its first head, giving him a mandate to reform Vatican communications with a focus on consolidation and increasing their presence in the digital world.
The secretariat oversees all of the Vatican’s communications offices, including Vatican Radio, L’Osservatore Romano [the Vatican newspaper], the Vatican Television Center, the Holy See Press Office, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, Vatican Internet Service, the Vatican Typography office, the Vatican’s Photography Service, and the Vatican publishing house.
During the Council of Cardinals’ most recent meeting in December, Vigano unveiled the new logo and design for the Vatican News website, which consolidated the Vatican’s former news and radio pages into a new multimedia hub, which features audio, text, video and graphics, available in multiple languages.
With the consolidation of their social media pages, the Vatican has seen a sharp increase in followers in recent months. On Facebook specifically, their page “Vatican News” – recognizable by the new insignia, which is a white Vatican logo with a red background – has more than 3 million followers.
The page is available in six languages, including English, Italian, French, German, Spanish and Portuguese.
On Twitter, the six different language editions for Vatican media have all been unified under the same Twitter handle “@vaticannews”, and a new account, “@radiovaticanaitalia”, has been created to promote and provide information on the activities of Vatican Radio and the multilingual Vatican News channel on Instagram.
The Vatican’s YouTube channel, which offers viewers live coverage of the pope’s activities, has also been rebranded with the same new logo and given the “Vatican News” title.
Social media for Vatican News is managed by the Secretariat for Communications’ Editorial and Theological-Pastoral departments. The secretariat also manages the pope’s social media accounts in collaboration with the Secretariat of State.
Francis has a high number of followers on his various social media accounts, which include his “@Pontifex” account on Twitter, which has more than 44 million followers in 9 languages, and his “@Franciscus” Instagram account, with more than 5 million followers on its one multilingual channel.
According to Vigano, the increased presence of Vatican media on social networks “is one of the effects of the great process of reform of the Vatican media currently under completion.”
The positive result, he said, is thanks in large part to the “great commitment” of their journalists and technical staff.
“As communications professionals, according to the logic of a Church that looks outwards, we are all called to be among the people,” he said, explaining that in today’s context, “this means being present on social networks and the internet with conviction and responsibility.”
For the Vatican, their perspective must be clear, he said, and it must be one which “requires us to focus on the human person, on relationships, the culture of encounter and, only in the last instance, on technology.”