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Public editor: New Pope, new methods of breaking news

Newly elected Pope Francis, left, waves from the steps of the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica in Rome, March 14, 2013. At right is Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Vicar General of Rome.


There is nothing like breaking news to get the news junkie's adrenalin flowing. We knew a new Pope was about to be named when the white smoke started billowing out from the Sistine Chapel, but The Globe and Mail editors and writers were poised to try out some new methods of bringing that news to readers.

The latest update to The Globe's iPhone and iPad app allows readers to receive breaking news alerts. Wednesday was the first time editors used that feature: when the white smoke appeared and again when the new Pope's name was announced. The Globe's coverage included a look at reaction on Twitter, including a few tweets from cardinals after the conclave ended. There was also a live blog during the day that garnered thousands of page views.

A photo gallery was posted as the announcement happened and updated through to today.

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The video team lined up Globe columnist Doug Saunders, who had been in Rome when Pope Benedict was announced, for his comments on Pope Francis.

And of course the articles. Tu Thanh Ha wrote quickly from Toronto, while Rome correspondent Eric Reguly filed from the scene and worked on the story for the Web and the paper. Les Perreaux was in the village of La Motte, Que. (Cardinal Marc Ouellet's hometown.) Editors met to decide what was needed for Thursday's newspaper including a profile of Jorge Mario Bergoglio by Sandra Martin along with an article from Africa correspondent Geoffrey York and a story from Buenos Aires.

The Comment and Editorial section contributed columns by Margaret Wente and two experts on Catholicism – Michael Higgins, vice-president of Mission and Catholic Identity at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, and John Cornwell, fellow of Jesus College at the University of Cambridge – along with an editorial and three letters.

There will be much more coverage in the days to come, but it is interesting to see that the old news cycle is long gone and there are many platforms that need breaking news and greater thought and detail at the same time.

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About the Author
Public Editor

Sylvia Stead has been a reporter and editor at the Globe since 1975, after graduating from the University of Western Ontario in Journalism with a minor in Political Science. She won the Board of Governors Award there in 1974. As a reporter, Sylvia covered courts, education and Queen's Park. More


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