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SIR: service … within a Church that listens and informs

Serving, listening and informing are the guiding principles of SIR’s work. Service, according to Christian rule, as we learn from Pope Francis, “is the way to live out our faith …and to bear witness to love.” Informing is an act of love towards the other person. Thus it is a service that must be carried out first by listening and then by informing. Listening is critical to communication, which entails silence as the first step: an indispensable condition to absorb every uttered word and assimilate its significance. Relating news following the editorial guidelines of the news Agency, “with objectivity, rigour, and verification”, that must always prevail over sensationalism

Here I am writing the first editorial in my new capacities as editor-in-chief. Once again my grateful thoughts go to the Italian Bishops’ Conference for having entrusted me with such a demanding, delicate task. I am equally grateful to all those who compiled the pages of SIR’s history with outstanding dedication: Fr Giuseppe Cacciami, for his determination and foresightedness; Giovanni Fallani, for his commitment to the dissemination of news, notably religious news, “purified” from meaningless, fruitless words; Paolo Bustaffa, for his ability to “read the signs of the times” in decades marked by major socio-cultural ferment; Domenico Delle Foglie, for his expertise catered to the News Agency’s relaunch in terms of digital investments and of the relations with local communities; the 191 news outlets that form part of the Italian Federation of Catholic weeklies, for which SIR was conceived and established.

All the above have contributed, each in its own way, to the growth of this information tool, as it nears its 30th anniversary.

What will happen next? Along which paths will the journey continue?

These are years of significant changes that are gradually transforming the entire media system, thereby constituting a major challenge we are called to face together. To this regard, SIR is and will continue being present. At the service of the Italian Church, to be its ever-improving official voice, in close cooperation with other media outlets (Avvenire, Tv2000, Radio InBlu); at the service of the local communities, that will continue being a constant reference point through the diocesan weeklies; at the service of Europe, to inform on the activity of the Bishops’ Conferences, of ecclesial bodies (CCEE and COMECE), of European institutions and that of social and cultural organisms; at the service of the world – because – as Pope Francis teaches – we must go out to the geographic and existential peripheries. Hence, at the service of the human person. There ensues that the privileged road on which our story unfolds are the following:

To be at the service …

For our News Agency is couldn’t be otherwise. Within a macrocosm ever-more characterised by the throwaway culture, which the media realm is a part of – let it suffice to refer to information flows – SIR chooses one of the most demanding paths. Far from being allured by vainglory, its motivation resides in Christian rule. “In the Church – the Pope said in the morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta on May 21 2013 – the greatest is the one who serves most, the one who is at the service of others. This is the rule.” And during the Jubilee audience of March 21 2016 the Holy Father referred to “service” as “the way to live out the faith … and bear witness to love.” His Holiness said: “Love is the practical service that we offer to others.” “Love is not a word, it is a deed, a service; humble service.” Informing is also an act of love we offer to others; that’s why it is a service that is offered first of all through attentive listening and then by relating the news. These are two more paths we will seek to undertake in the wake of our tradition.

In fact, “a Church that listens and reports” is the slogan that has accompanied SIR since its foundation in 1988. The present commitment focuses on listening and reporting, recalling the beauty and the responsibility of thought, which is re-proposed to exemplify high-quality news.

To listen,

critical to communication, it is the source of authentic, increasingly new relationships. Within said relationships, which unfold in the encounter with others, lies the development of truthful information, which is not confined to the dissemination of news, but encompasses openness, mutual enrichment and relationships.

To report

according to the News Agency’s guidelines, with “objectivity, rigour and verification”, always prevailing over “deceptively profitable sensationalism”, in order to “disseminate free and truthful news in the long-standing footsteps of Catholic press (….) in ways compliant to the present  season of the Church and of Italian society as a whole.”

Service, listening, and reporting: these are the guiding principles of our future work, for thoughtful information that prompts reflection.

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