How will the death of the Pope be covered?

Wed Feb 2 21:00:19 2005 EDT (-0400 GMT)

Some one asked Yahoo the question “How will the next Pope be chosen?” What I’m wondering is how will it be covered?

Should Jean-Paul the second die, and it will be soon, then a conclave will be held and a the Cardinals will hold a secret ballet to elect the new Pontiff. The ballots are burned after each vote, and if the vote is unsuccessful, a substance is added to the fire to produce black smoke. When the black smoke goes up then we all know the voting goes on, if it’s white then we have a new pope. I don’t really know how good a signal this is, because there is no good footage from the seventies of Jean-Paul’s selection – but that won’t be the case this time.

MILLIONS OF DOLLARS are spent each year by the CNNs, NBCs, BBCs, Reuters of the world to gain the rights to roof tops in rome that over look the Vatican city so that reporters can cover this event. Millions of dollars spent, in the hopes that the Pope will die and one news agency will have the best shot. Something has always bothered me about these investments in someone’s death.

Likewise, we will/have start/ed seeing news packages about Pope Jean-Paul the second, packages that have been ready for years, and checked and updated by interns over the summer. They’ll talk about when he was shot, his other health scares, what he did for the homles of Eastern Europe, and the contraception based protection from AIDS that the pope prevents from reaching Africa.

In the same way that five minute news packages were ready for the death of Johny Carson and Peier Burtton, packages are ready for every important person near deaths door. Imagine a phone call out of the blue “Hello Y, could you give me a few comments about X” “X is a great person, why do you ask” “Oh, we’re preparing for when he’s dead”.

It’s almost perverse. Vultures teat death with more dignity.

I for one would prefer that we not be prepared. Was Princes Diana’s death covered so poorly? The gaggle of press seem to be getting all the coverage they need from their encampment infront of the hospital in Rome – though they likely scoped that location out a while ago.

One more rant about the Vatican: They Vatican post office is incredably slow! When in Rome, send your mail like the Romans.

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