Interview with Nancy Wiechec

Nancy Wiechec. (CNS/Paul Haring)Many of the photos of Pope Benedict’s historic U.S. visit that you’ve seen on our home page and on this blog were taken by our visual media manager, Nancy Wiechec (right). Many of them are what I consider to be iconic images that you’ll be seeing for years to come, whether in our client publications or in books and other media about Pope Benedict.

But it wasn’t just Nancy photographing the pope. As our director and editor in chief, Tony Spence, noted a few days ago, we had a total of nine photographers covering the papal venues, giving CNS the best collection of U.S. papal images by far.

That’s just a long-winded introduction to the interview in the current National Catholic Register with Nancy about her experiences on the trip and her impressions of the pope. (Update May 1: The interview has been moved to the password-only portion of the Register’s site.)

And when you read the interview (click here), the two shots that she cites when asked about her favorite photos of the trip are posted below. You can also view our best images during the visit by clicking here for the slideshow that CNS photographer Paul Haring created during the trip.

Pope Benedict XVI and New York Cardinal Edward M. Egan walk in the pit of former World Trade Center towers in New York April 20. The pope prayed at site and spoke with family members of some of the victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks and with those who were first responders to the disaster. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)Pope Benedict XVI closes his eyes following Communion during Mass at Nationals Park in Washington April 17. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

Captions

Left: Pope Benedict XVI and New York Cardinal Edward M. Egan walk in the pit of the former World Trade Center towers in New York April 20. The pope prayed at the site and spoke with family members of some of the victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks and with those who were first responders to the disaster. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

Right: Pope Benedict XVI closes his eyes following Communion during Mass at Nationals Park in Washington April 17. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

Students use creativity to cover the pope

If you’ve noticed, a theme here this week is stories being told back home about seeing Pope Benedict.

Sister Carol Hoverman, editor of the archdiocesan newspaper The Witness in Dubuque, Iowa, has her own compilation of personal accounts. As she says, “Each person has a unique story to tell and memories that will last a lifetime.”

My favorite of the bunch is the story of two Loras College students, Lauren Squires and Katrina Berning, video producers for their college TV channel, who got media credentials for the Washington portion of the trip. But when they got here they discovered they couldn’t get into the events because camera spots were limited to the major networks.

Rather than whine about their lack of access, they used their creativity to cover the events. From Sister Carol’s story:

They watched the Mass on the screens outside the stadium, and got text messages from Berning’s grandmother, who was inside. They began interviewing people who were also outside the stadium.

“We spoke with one man who said he wasn’t Catholic, but he told us he could really feel the Holy Spirit when the pope was near,” recalled Squires.

They also shot video of Loras President Jim Collins, who was at an invitation-only papal audience for Catholic educators at the Catholic University of America.

Nice — I love it when journalists find other ways to get the story. Here’s a link to their blog, and here’s one of their stories:

Dream on

My colleague, CNS international editor Barb Fraze, blogged last month about papal-visit nightmares before the trip. As a stringer covering the New York lap of the visit, I too had a couple of unexpected dreams related to missed press buses.

Now, as a “veteran” of the papal visit, I am happy to report that I did not miss any buses — but I also cannot explain why I am now dreaming about papal events that were added to the itinerary, at least in my dreamscape.

The other night, for example, I dreamed there was “just one more papal appearance at Yankee Stadium” to cover.  As I hustled to report it, it felt a lot like that recurring post-college dream about the chemistry class I don’t find until just before the final exam.   

I sure hope His Holiness is not having bad dreams about being pursued by the press corps! 

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