Vatican City, 12 June 2012 (VIS) - "As of 31 July 2012 the Vatican Information Service (VIS) will cease to exist as a separate office providing information distinct from the Bulletin of the Holy See Press Office. However, the subscribers of VIS will continue to receive a comprehensive information service", according to a communique released this morning by the Holy See Press Office.
"As part of the development and coordination of the Holy See's social communications activities, and following guidance received from the Secretariat of State, the personnel of VIS will be transferred. Some of them will go to reinforce the multilingual 'news.va' portal which was established a year ago in the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, others will be employed in the multilingual development of the Press Office Bulletin.
"As is now well known, the 'news.va' portal gathers the principal news items concerning the Holy See and the life of the Church, as published daily by the Press Office, the 'Osservatore Romano', Vatican Radio and Fides News Agency. It then presents them in an easily accessible format, accompanied by Vatican Television Centre videos and photographs from the photographic service of the 'Osservatore Romano'. One of the characteristics of the portal - which currently operates daily in Italian, English, Spanish and French - is that it is structured in such a way as to make it easy to share the material on social networks (such as Facebook and Twitter) and to make it accessible with new applications on mobile devices.
"The Press Office Bulletin has thus far been published principally in Italian, unless the original texts were in other languages, while VIS has worked regularly in four languages. Integrating the English-, French- and Spanish-language staff of VIS into the everyday activities of the Holy See Press Office will enable the online publication of the Bulletin to be renewed, with the inclusion of complete translations of various texts and language summaries of texts that cannot be fully translated. These measures will be gradually introduced beginning in September 2012.
"The translated parts of the Bulletin, together with the summaries in languages other than Italian, will continue to be sent to the 60,000 VIS subscribers who thus will not lose a service they have received and appreciated for so long. Moreover, the extensive archive of more than 85,000 articles in various languages, produced by VIS in more than twenty years of activity, will be conserved and integrated, with a simple and rapid search engine, into the site of the Press Office".