Journalism Is One Of The Greatest Means To Tell People About Christ

By: Tia Johnson 0 Comments   7/12/2013

As a youngster I was often asked which career I intended to pursue. I said journalism. Sometimes, that yielded quizzical looks.

I suppose that since I was in charge of my high school's Bible study group, led many evangelistic outreach events, and went on missions adventures, some assumed I'd attend a Christian college and pursue some sort of "Christian" work.

I found in my studies, however, that journalism is very much Christian work. Why? Not just because of the potential to evangelize among coworkers. No, even more so- journalism is very much "Christian" work because the purpose of a journalist is to investigate and report truth. And, truth is not only important to the well-being of God's creation; it's also important to God.

We all recognize the importance of journalists who seek after and write true facts regardless of personal biases or political pressures. We've seen the results of journalists who seek to do the opposite- writing truth that appeals to their whims and bends without convictions. Do we need journalists with a passion for telling the truth? Yes, and where better to find that than among someone who knows God and follows His laws, including this one: "Thou shalt not lie?"

"Lying," in the world of journalism, is not just about stating an untrue fact. A journalist can lie by stating one side of the story when he or she knows the importance of the other side and deliberately chooses not to share it. A Christian journalist must fight against this, and a Christian journalist perhaps has even more cause to fight against lies because of the Biblical calling to be accurate and truthful.

Writing down the truth was referred to periodically in scripture. Ecclesiastes 12:10 says "The Teacher sought to find just the right words to express truths clearly." (NLT) The journalists in Bible times were called "scribes," and they were often found in the presence of kings recording the day's events and messages delivered. Their work resulted in the historical accounts we read of in Scripture, particularly during the reigns of the kings in the Old Testament. It was imperative that each word be accurate, for as they wrote, they were carving out history.

John McCandlish Phillips, late reporter for the New York Times, may suggest another scripture when discussing journalism: "Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others." Habukkuk 2:2 (NLT)

Who said these words? God. I find it interesting that God not only commanded the runner to remember these words, but to write them down. God knew that words written down were not only better preserved (think the 10 commandments), but their accuracy was better ensured.

A spoken word once heard, and a written word once read, is nearly impossible to take back. Phillips recognized that words were powerful. He wrote in a letter (as WORLD Magazine reported): "'Words are tremendously powerful things. They can, and very often do, so form conceptions in people's minds that they are affected in their thinking as well as their behavior. Let godless words go out and prevail, and the people will become godless in their behavior. Let godly words go out in sufficient volume and prevail, and the people will reflect a standard in their behavior. This is one great reason why I am so filled with the desire to see mature and truly committed Christians obtain much great degrees of influence and of editorial decision-power in the mass media..."

A Christian journalist has an edge in that he/she may see a depth to the story that a non-Christian may not. Consider this example: a story covering a town-hall meeting-- The discussion is on the town's involvement in housing recent x-prisoners who have served their term.

A journalist has three options: One: just report the facts- the numbers of those who attended the meeting and the overall vote resulting from it. Two: take this a step farther and bring in quotes from townspeople about their concerns and praises of the idea (a good journalist should get a balanced perspective of both sides. Sadly, some don't.). Three: Dig deeper and reveal the worldview behind each side. When taking the quote of a concerned citizen, find out if his concern is rooted in a previous experience or if he is a father concerned about the safety of his children, etc. In a story like this, it would be just as important to bring in the side of the prisoners. Interview someone who has been regenerated and show the evidence of that (this side in particular may be missed by a non-Christian). Also, share the statistics of x-prisoners recommitting offenses.

As you can see, the deeper and more "opinionated" the story becomes, the more work it takes for journalists to tell the total truth- to gather all sides of the story. It's a difficult job, but an important one. 

So yes, a Christian certainly does fit well into a journalism career. Both their calling to report truth and to see a story through a spiritual lens gives a Christian journalist a sure-footed ledge to not just "make it" in journalism, but to raise the standard of our media.

If you are interested in pursuing such a career, I suggest taking an internship with World Journalism Institute. Concerning my journalism endeavors, I've valued the few short months I spent in this training much more than my overstuffed backpack of college courses. I highly suggest checking it out.

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