Page 5, 15th January 1954

15th January 1954
Page 5
Page 5, 15th January 1954 — TV apostolate training

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People: James Keller
Locations: New York, Omaha


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TV apostolate training

material must be approved by NBC in advance of programmes. Solicitation of funds is not permitted." But in spite of this I am bound to say that in these major programmes I saw a great deal of very Catholic material and I felt that these instructions were being interpreted in an extraordinarily generous fashion. The Executive Secretary of the National Council of Catholic Men said in a recent report that his committee had already found that television is the most effective teaching instrument in the field of mass communication, presenting the Church with almost unlimited opportunities for carrying out her teaching mission.

Great variety

My experience in America leads me to believe that Catholic authorities and the Catholic people are rapidly becoming aware of it. The number of Catholic programmes produced each week is enormous—varying from the great national programmes like "Life is Worth Living," the "Catholic Hour," "What One Person Can Do," by Fr. James Keller and his Christophers, and the occasional Rosary television programmes of Fr. Peyton, to the small local programmes of some small town station. Most dioceses have now their radio and television diocesan director, although there is no unifying or co-ordinating national body.

There are regular "TV Workshops"—short courses for Catholics interested in TV, held in the TV studios. Prizes are offered to Catholics for good original TV scripts in drama and features—one was being held when I was in New York with a "Cardinal Spellman" prize worth nearly £1,000.

Most interesting of all, in some of the Catholic colleges and universities there are now "Communication Arts Departments" offering degrees in this field. These departments offer courses in journalism, radio and TV in all its aspects.

College stations

Often the college has its own radio station, entirely run by the students. and some have now their own TV unit, supplying programmes which are readily accepted by the local stations.

One of the most advanced colleges is Creighton University, in Omaha, Nebraska, run by the Jesuit Fathers. "Creighton University Presents" is a well-known title for radio features of all kinds and a very high level of work is achieved.

One result of this enterprise is that a steady stream of thoroughly trained young Catholics is pouring into the radio industry--surely one way of helping to Christianise programmes. And it is becoming more clear each day that there's an apostolate, perhaps even greater than that of providing directly Catholic work, in trying to influence the general trend of television and of bringing strong Christian influence to bear over the whole field of radio communication.

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