VATICAN CITY — After 19 years located in an apartment building half mile from the Vatican, Catholic News Service’s Rome bureau was ready for a move — to fresher digs and closer to the action.
As anyone who has ever moved knows, it’s usually not a pretty sight. Not only because a few of us (mostly me) have pack-rat tendencies, there are paper files and valuable archive materials going back to the Second Vatican Council and earlier as CNS has had a full-time presence in Rome since 1948.
Moving a news organization is also challenging because “the show must go on!” The pope and the rest of the Vatican don’t stop working and CNS client papers still need to go to press.
The day before the office was set to be boxed up and shipped off, CNS’s senior correspondent, Cindy Wooden, and I started filling a small cardboard box and wheelie suitcase with essential items that would supply our “mobile newsroom” for the next few days.
Dubbed “the nuclear football” by Rome bureau chief Francis Rocca, the suitcase needed to get us through not just a couple of typical workdays, but also had to cover us in case of some unforeseen news Armageddon.
Essential items included aspirin, gaffer tape, half a bar of chocolate, a safety pin, USB drive, telephone books, personal contacts, recording devices, notebooks and pens. It had started out as a full chocolate bar…
We did pack a laptop, but it decided to give out on the first day we were office-less so I feel it doesn’t deserve to be included it in the photo-lineup. iPad minis and our booth in the Vatican press hall provided us with connectivity.
Luckily we were spared an “extreme” news event during the move. However, the “atomic suitcase” has ended up being more of a lifesaver than anticipated since we still are not completely unpacked.
Thanks to the wheelie suitcase contents, we’ve been able to have all the essentials as we continue to settle into our new office — now located next door to the Vatican press hall and 50 yards from St. Peter’s Square.
Enjoy some of these shots of our new home in Rome.
As always, CNS clients and fans are more than welcome to stop by. We still may have a box for you to sit on when you visit!