Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. in September provides a wealth of potential stories for journalists, including those who won’t be able to see him in person.
The Pope’s writing and speeches on climate change and respect for the environment; the plight of the poor and disenfranchised; and his compassion for immigrants and refugees generated plenty of ideas and discussion during NPF’s Capitol Hill Issues Briefing for journalists.
Kalee Krieder, Special Advisor for Climate Science at the UN Foundation, suggested that the Pope’s views on the environment would be clear to any journalist who takes the time to read his encyclical, Laudato Si. And his visit is an opening to look at the Catholic church in the U.S., its educational institutions and generational differences among Catholics on social issues. The current political campaigns are another lens through which to report the Pontiff’s visit.
For reporters in Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia, logistics will be a challenge. Crowds will be huge and security will be tight.
Journalists with permanent credentials for Capitol Hill need to arrive several hours early to ensure they get through greatly beefed-up security in time for the event. There likely will be very limited spaces available in the galleries for those seeking a special credential.
Outdoor Jumbotron screens will livestream the Pope’s historic address to Congress on the West front of the Capitol and it’s possible the Pope will make an appearance there following the Congressional speech. It is a ticketed event, and so far, it’s not clear how many tickets will be available for journalists – or for the public. Best bet for the public: Contact your member of Congress.
The U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops will operate a media center in each city, where the events will be livestreamed and briefings will take place. For credentials to the media centers and other questions, contact the website uspapalvisit.org or email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.