He drew a parallel between the work of the media and that of the church, saying both worked to communicate "truth, beauty and goodness."
The media also had an important role to play in explaining the way the church works, he said, which is made more complicated by the role played by faith rather than more worldly or political concerns.
The new pope concluded the audience -- which did not include questions -- with a blessing for all the journalists present and their families.
He acknowledged that not all those present were Catholic, saying he gave them his blessing "knowing that you are of different religions, because all of you are children of God."
As a cardinal in Buenos Aires, Francis developed close relations with Argentina's Jewish community.
He wrote to the chief rabbi in Rome this week, saying he strongly hoped to "contribute to the progress of the relations that have existed between Jews and Catholics" since the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, which redrew the church's relations with the modern world, "in a spirit of renewed collaboration."
On Sunday, Francis will celebrate Mass in Vatican City and for the first time deliver the Angelus, or noon blessing, from his papal apartment window to the crowds gathered below in St. Peter's Square.
The official Mass to inaugurate Francis as the bishop of Rome -- and leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics -- takes place Tuesday.
Reforms to come?
Francis has already struck observers with his simple and humble style since being elected to the papacy -- and prompted speculation that he may bring in wider changes.