Through its newly established Rome Internships Program, Thomas More College is now partnering with Rome-based multimedia Catholic news service H2o News to provide journalism training, experience, and credentials for students on both the Merrimack and Rome campuses.
H2o News is headquartered in Vatican City, footsteps away from St. Peter’s Square, but operates on a global scale, creating and distributing multimedia news, every day, in eight languages to 120 countries. H2o works closely with Vatican TV (CTV) and Vatican Radio. H2onews offers its multimedia services free of charge to Catholic television, web sites and radio stations—as well as individual subscribers.
Thomas More College’s Vatican Studies Center director, Tony Assaf, is the editor of H2O’s Arabic edition and the College’s Vatican Forum director, Andrea Assaf, edits the English edition. This past fall, the Assafs trained and recorded the voices of several students and faculty members for H2o news packages, but the effort went into high gear after Thomas More College students and staff arrived in Rome in late January.
From their arrival in Rome through mid-March, eight Thomas More College sophomores embarked on internships with H2O: Lucy Domina, Caitlyn Lynch, Mariana Nino, Francesca Ponelli, Nicholas Smith, Emily Wilson, Alexandra Winchester, and Lauren Witter. These students edited English translations of news, learned technical aspects of audio/video production, and received voice training, before serving as the English language narrators of news reports about the Church. Several students have had the privilege of “dubbing” Pope Benedict XVI as he reads the Gospel at Mass.
“I’d always hated listening to my own voice, but this experience has helped me gain confidence in public speaking,” said Mariana Nino. “It’s exciting for me to hold the microphone and know that I’m narrating important news about the Church that’s distributed throughout the world. My family also enjoys hearing me do the reports, which they access on the Web.”
“It’s fun to be working in Rome, and exciting to be involved in the actual production of media,” said Lucy Domina. “The editing is good practice for my own writing as well.”
“Doing this has really honed my voice,” commented Lauren Witter. “My dad heard me narrating and didn’t recognize me.”
H2o’s editorial director, journalist Jesús Colina, illustrates the novelty of H2o’s coverage: “Perhaps for the first time in history, you can follow the daily life of the Holy Father from your own home.” Colina explained the origin of the service’s name: “H2o is water. Our service intends, in the spirit of the Gospel, to bring refreshing water to every television, every computer, and every home.”
In addition to H2onews, TMC’s Vatican Studies Center is partnering with several other Rome-based television, radio, and print media organizations to provide opportunities for interested students to acquire skills and experience in communications—and also to witness the workings of the Vatican from the inside.