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Christian journalist is not an oxymoron

Last week, The Chimes released two articles — a news story and a features story — and a video interview on the topic of a Planned Parenthood defenders group started by a Biola University student. This ignited a variety of responses from our community, and called our staff to consider our roles and work as journalists and Christians.

The current state of journalism as a whole is precarious. National media has been called into question often, especially surrounding politics. Much doubting and questioning revolving around the purpose and best practices of journalism has taken place.

We, as journalists, are called to report truth. As we approach different topics, people, groups, events and so on, we are doing what we can to seek truth. This requires we speak to multiple sources, consult authorities and get to the heart of different situations. This is a tedious process, and we admit there are times when not every detail is discovered or presented. In the occasions we fail to do this, our work appears biased even though that is far from our intent.

As Christians, we are also called to seek truth. This is not contrary to our role as journalists, but complementary. Sometimes, though, what we cover and who we speak to may hold opinions that may differ from the majority, the accepted norm or our own views. We are to think biblically about everything, but that does not mean we can avoid covering topics that are disagreed upon by those in the Christian community.

At The Chimes, all of our staff members are students preparing to go into a field where many do not recognize Jesus as savior, and we have a unique opportunity to share that light with others, both in our interactions in the newsroom and through the media we produce. This also means we cannot shy away from hard-to-talk-about subjects. We are not to condemn others for their opinions nor can we negate the news of something occurring if we disagree with what is happening. We are called to give those we interact with respect and dignity, recognizing the benefits of diversity, not only of people’s backgrounds but of their opinions.

Often, when handled properly, discourse about challenging topics can bring about more truth. When we seek to listen to each other and see a side we do not agree with, it allows us to grow both as individuals and as members of the body of Christ.

This being said, The Chimes is an important place of growth. Though we are preprofessional journalists who commit ourselves to creating quality content, our paper is also a place of learning. I have learned more working for this publication than I ever could in a classroom, and, though it is challenging, some of the most important lessons arise out of our shortcomings and weaknesses.

This being said, it is of the utmost value for The Chimes to cover all aspects of our community and we will continue to do so. As we approach these topics as a staff each year, we will continue to grow in how well we cover them, evaluating the best way to fully encapsulate the truth of each story.

 

Your Turn.  Post a Comment

  1. Amy

    Hi Melissa,
    Thank you for your article. You are right that the term 'Christian journalist' is not an oxymoron.

    The reason the Planned Parenthood article gained as much attention as it did was due to a Christian journalist choosing to
    spotlight an opinion that was based on statistics rather than statistics and biblical application.

    While it is possible to report the subject of abortion in an article and/or video that presents both opponents and supporters of PP by recording the viewpoints of individuals discussing their reasoning, one would not think that a Pro-PP stance would be held by students attending Biola or that a Chimes journalist would want to write an article casting a Pro-PP spotlight on a student from a Christian institute. With views not grounded in biblical doctrine, the response is more of an issue in seeking compassionate counsel before resorting to coverage. Outside of Biola, if a graduate of the Chimes was to cover the subject matter of abortion and PP, one would hope they would interview those who held a statistical biblical, biblical, and statistical view, so that organically, the truth would reveal itself in the report. One would not anticipate that such a journalist would resort to reporting the singular perspective of a professor from a Christian college or pastor of a Christian church who supports PP.

    The questions that I had in reading the report were, "How and why was the topic selected for coverage?" and "What was the message the (Chimes) or (journalist(s)) hoped to communicate to their Christian and secular audience?" While these questions do not publicly have to be answered by the Chimes staff, I do think they are matters that need to be thought about and discussed within a future meeting.

    I second the notion, "we cannot shy away from hard-to-talk-about subjects", but in the same breath I would encourage the Chimes to think about the voice they're communicating with each article. It wasn't the topic the Chimes chose to cover that saddened many readers, it was the angle by which they chose to approach the topic. I wish the journalists behind the Chimes the very best in their journalistic endeavors, but I did want to respond to this article as a matter of food for thought.

    Sincerely,
    Amy March 9, 2017

  2. Darth Vader

    I find the Chimes' journalists lack of faith disturbing... March 14, 2017

  3. Master Yoda

    In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way.
    March 14, 2017

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