CNN Plans For Pope Benedict’s First Official U.S. Visit

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CNN will engage a multiplatform effort to cover Pope Benedict’s first official papal visit to the United States next week, officials said Thursday.

Online as well as on CNN/U.S., CNN International, CNN en Español, CNN Radio and Headline News, CNN will report on the pope’s address to the United Nations, his meeting with President George W. Bush, his visit to Ground Zero in New York and other events.

The pope’s visit will take place from April 15 to 20 in Washington and New York.

This trip to the United States marks Pope Benedict’s sixth country that he has visited since becoming pope in 2005.  There are more than 67 million Catholics in the United States and more than a billion Catholics worldwide.

Soledad O’Brien will anchor CNN’s live coverage April 20 as Pope Benedict visits Ground Zero of the World Trade Center and officiates Mass in New York’s Yankee Stadium.

O’Brien will be joined by weekend CNN Newsroom anchors T.J. Holmes and Betty Nguyen reporting from location and CNN’s Vatican analyst John Allen.

CNN’s coverage begins with the pope’s arrival on Tuesday, April 15, and continues with contributions throughout the visit from Jim Acosta, Wolf Blitzer, Jason Carroll, Ines Ferre,Ed Henry, Juan Carlos Lopez, Colleen McEdwards,Kyra Phillips, Richard Roth and Mary Snow.

CNN.com will offer expanded coverage of Pope Benedict’s trip. Through multimedia and interactive elements, as well as traditional stories and videos, CNN.com Live will stream all available ceremonies and events live in their entirety, as well as feature live reports from the field with John Allen.

The network is also asking viewers and users to share their firsthand accounts of the pope’s public events through video, photo, or audio submissions to www.iReport.com, CNN’s recently launched user-generated community Web site.

CNN will have a mobile iReport station at the public Mass held at Nationals Park in Washington, for attendees to upload personal stories, photos and videos related to the pope’s visit. Contributors also may gain recognition by having the material they submit to the site – once vetted and approved for use – appear on a CNN network or CNN.com.

Broadcast worldwide, CNN’s papal coverage will reach more than 310 million households, while also being available to CNN broadcast partners CNN+, CNN Turk, CNN IBN and more than 1,000 affiliates.   

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