Thursday, 28 November 2013

Meet Burke, PR to the Vatican

Last week Pope Francis hit 10 million Twitter followers. He’s also been in and out of the media for cold-calling worshippers, joking around, and hanging out with a little orphan boy on stage during a public address (above). The Pope Francis seems like a pretty cool dude.

What’s the deal with the Pope’s transformation into a media darling? It’s all thanks to Greg Burke: the 53-year-old Fox News correspondent turned Senior Communications Adviser to the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, who is quietly changing the way the world views the Vatican city. Instead of the previous tactics of awaiting disaster control, Burke is leading the Vatican into the offensive, one newsworthy/viral-worthy titbit at a time.

Is it working? Last month Burke offered “10 things to know” about the Pope in a further step to humanise the Catholic leader. One of my favourites is number eight on the list, in regards to the Pope’s humility:

Living in a Vatican guest house instead of the apostolic palace, carrying his own briefcase on a trip… that’s just how the Pope is and people will have to “get used to it because we’ll see more of it,” Burke said.

It seems like Burke is doing a great job, and that we’ll probably be seeing more of Pope Francis and his antics!

Hongi Luo
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

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