Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Stories from the Sidewalks

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Stories from the Sidewalks

Article excerpt

It's a print journalist's nightmare. "Dennis, you're killing me," Vatican correspondent Joshua McElwee told me over the phone. He'd just spent eight days with Pope Francis in Asia--braving tropical heat, tropical storms and spotty cellphone service--and I just told him he had a 2,400-word limit on his stories for this print issue. His last filing for us on the trip itself was 2,000 words and he filed 13 stories total. Thank goodness for the Internet. You can see all of McElwee's reporting on the NCR website at and francis-philippines.

Also on those Web pages, you'll find the reporting of N.J. Viehland, a veteran Filipina journalist with long experience covering the church in Asia. Viehland covered the pope's trip to the Philippines from the ground up, smashed in with crowds waiting for the motorcade to pass and soaked to the skin during the mega-Mass in Luneta Park in Manila.

Viehland supplied those extra special details that humanized our reporting. Here are some highlights from her online filings.

The sidewalks outside the nuncio's residence, where Francis slept, were teeming with people hours before the pope's evening arrival. Gladys Silvano told NCR she arrived at 3 a.m. It was her day off as a cashier in a restaurant, and she wanted to make sure she found a spot with a clear view.

The Villareal family had matching shirts printed: Francis' face on front and the family name on back.

Khiel, 3, said he came with his mother to see "Lolo [Grandfather] Pope. …

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