A slowly unfolding mystery for media

March 13, 2013 • Entertainment

A reader looks at the first edition of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano after the election of Pope Francis, the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was elected pope. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

NEW YORK (AP) — The election of a new pope presented news organizations Wednesday with a slowly unfolding mystery governed by centuries of tradition.

Television news personalities were clearly uncomfortable with the uncertainty. But it may have been the best thing for their networks, with the story revealing itself like a reality show competition, only this time without a manufactured conclusion.

White smoke or black smoke? Who’s that sneaking a peek through the curtains at St. Peter’s Square? When will someone appear to announce the new pope’s name? Will it be anyone the odds makers have been predicting? ABC’s Diane Sawyer could only marvel at the mystery during the hourlong period between white smoke and the appearance of the new Pope Francis.

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