Pope Francis’ Popularity in the News Media

In the same vein as the Pope’s recent visit to the District, an article on journalism.org discusses Pope Francis and his popularity in the news media. The article suggests that the Pope has become a media superstar with his comments on controversial issues, such as gay priests, saying, “Who am I to judge?” Pope Francis has attracted a great deal of attention to the papacy, the author writes. He has brought a renewed visibility to the papacy, and is beginning to shed new light on the Catholic church. Not that the Pope and Donald Trump are alike in any way, but there are similarities in the reasons for their popularity in the media. Both are unafraid of speaking on controversial issues, and taking a specific stance with the media. Pope Francis takes a message of peace and adds his open-mindedness in expressing it, which clearly is an approach that has the capacity to attract thousands to him. The news media can’t get enough. Articles about Pope Francis are constantly shared on social media, as are articles about Donald Trump. It is clear that characters who set themselves apart from the crowd will have an appeal as leaders, whether one is a religious figure or billionaire-turned-unapologetic-politician. This observation showed that popularity in the news is not necessarily about being well-liked but about being interesting to read about. Statements that are perhaps unexpected, bold, or have a sense of ironic humor in them are likely to be printed because they attract attention.