Pope: Shep Smith In Rome: Complicated, Challenging, Rewarding Assignment

By Brian 

FNC anchor Shepard Smith’s reports from Rome are winning praise. “It’s obvious he’s been preparing for this story for a long time — he’s hitting this one out of the park,” one e-mailer wrote. “He handled himself beautifully and he really shines on this story,” another viewer wrote.

In an interview with TVNewser today, Smith called the week anchoring from Rome a “fascinating experience,” and noted that the Pope did a “masterful job” of using the mass media.

“This is a man that was known not to be able to use computers himself, but i don’t know a better master of the mass media than Pope John Paul II was.”

Smith said the Vatican’s “open coverage” of the ceremonies is the most recent example of the Pope using the media’s power: “The startling pictures of his body being carried through one of the most historic places on the planet, live on television, around the globe — by design — has been striking, and one of the most memorable things I’ve ever seen,” he said.

Via the media, the Pope has sent a message that death isn’t something to fear, Smith said.

“I think what’s interesting is the message that he’s sending: The main message here is be not afraid. Death is going to happen to everyone and death is part of life.”

During his days in Rome, Smith usually comes into the FNC bureau around 1pm local time (7am ET). After a series of meetings and discussions, “we try to craft the day, making sure that we hit the highlights of what’s happening here, and at the same time make sure to take into consideration what’s happening in Poland and other plaecs around the world. It’s complicated and it’s challenging, but it’s rewarding at the same time.”

And it’s long. Smith’s day usually wraps up around 3am local time (9pm ET). On Friday, he’ll be up early to cover the funeral, before anchoring both his afternoon and evening show. Smith expects to return to NYC sometime next week. He may return to Rome later this month.