A Christian Journalism

Since first reading and analyzing Brian Chapell’s ideas of Christians in the world of journalism, in his essay “A Christian Journalism,” my views on the topic have shifted somewhat. After our recent class discussions going back to the topic at hand, I have realized that, while I still support many of Chapell’s arguments, I think his entire point can be summed up rather concisely through one idea: intentions.

As Christians, we are called to live holy lives, to serve God and serve others, ultimately yearning to draw nearer to Him. But to do all of these things, we must have the right intentions – ones that are good and Christ-like, ones that benefit others and put others before ourselves. To be like Christ means to have intentions that respect all humans, showing grace and forgiveness, respect, kindness and love.

So if we are Christians and are striving to be Christ-like and have good intentions, the four aspects of Christian journalism, as suggested by Chapell, should naturally follow. If we have the right intentions, what we write will always be true. Striving to be Christ-like means we will always be truthful, and our intentions will be that we never write something that is anything but true.

Following Chapell’s truth piece, he suggests that Christian journalism should also be provable. This, in a way, simply builds on his previous point regarding Christian journalism being true, because truth is always provable. If we are writing truthful material, all the material we right should be provable. As stated before, if our intentions are in the right place, truthful writing will result, and provable truth will also result.

Chapell also suggests that Christian journalism should be edifying, ultimately providing morals or sharing instructive principles. As Christians, we should be holding ourselves up to a moral standard, as denoted in the Bible. This goes hand-in-hand with the idea of intentions, as our intentions will align with the morals we hold, and they should be good if we are following God’s word. So if our intentions are good, we should be exemplifying morals in the writing we do, whether it is outright in the way we write, or simply in the way we treat the subjects we interview or interact with.

Christian journalism should also be redemptive, according to Chapell. When first reading this section, I was under the impression that this meant that all stories need to have a happy ending, in a way. However after revisiting this material, I now have a different perspective. Instead of this simply meaning that redemption must be a storyline in all of our writing, I think this idea, again, comes down to our intentions. We must show a chance for redemption in our stories – to not close the door to anyone we cover. Our job as journalists is to present the truth, and there isn’t always a happy ending. But we don’t always know what is in store – so we must show this fact and not dismiss anyone or anything, simply because of our own judgments. In this way, I think if our intentions are right – if we show compassion, grace and respect like God asks of us, we will write pieces that have a chance for redemption.

Ultimately, while my views have changed slightly in regards to Chapell’s “A Christian Journalism” piece, they have mostly stayed the same. As a whole, I think it is less about what “Christian journalism” needs to be, and more about what we need to be. We need to be Christ-like, treating all individuals with the respect, grace and compassion that Christ shows to them. If we do this, Chapell’s four principles should then be manifested in our writing automatically, because our intentions are in the right place and our work will be glorifying to God.

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My Twitter name:
–>Follow me!

List I am following:

Top 10 (who I’m following):
-Ashton Kutcher: actor, Hollywood
-Joe Posnanski, journalist, sports
-Nicholas Kristof, journalist, NYT
-The New York Times, news organization
-Chris Rauschnot, social media, internet entrepreneur
-Katie Couric, journalist, TV
-Jay Rosen, journalism, professor
-Nieman Lab, Harvard journalism
-Vadim Lavrusik, social media journalism
-Richard Darell, social media fanatic

My experience thus far:
While I have been active on Twitter for a couple months now, I feel like I’m discovering new uses and features of the social media platform all the time. From this assignment, I have already learned something new – lists! I have noticed that some of my followers have categorized me into a “list” (Twins fans, MLB, Bethel, etc.), but I didn’t really know what this referred to. However, from this assignment, I discovered this feature – an aggregator of sorts – that combines people with a similar characteristic into one “list” for easy following.

As mentioned above, I am now following two lists: journalism and social media. I figured this would be appropriate with our current studies in class, and I have already found it to be incredibly helpful, as the journalism list allows me to follow some of the world’s best journalists, while the social media list provides tweets from some social media pros I have never heard of. All in all, there have been a variety of links provided via tweets from each of these lists that have been incredibly informative.

One thing that I appreciate about Twitter is the short snippets. Unlike Facebook, checking Twitter, for me, is much less time consuming. The fact that tweets are limited to 140 characters allows for easier skimming, which is great for me. If something doesn’t grab my attention instantly, I pass it up. If there is an interesting tweet with a link, I will most definitely click on it. Another aspect I appreciate is the fact that it allows me to be connected to people I wouldn’t normally be able to follow, like famous people I couldn’t just befriend on Facebook. Also, the list and hashtag feature allows for easier searching when it comes to a certain interest area, like journalism. I can simply search “journalism” and find what everyone all over the world is currently talking about in relation to journalism.

Overall, my first impression is that Twitter is much more universal than Facebook. For Facebook, it seems like everything is tailored to me and my location – when I search, the first people that come up are the people closest to me in terms of cities/states. For Twitter, it is different – it just gives me the search results that are most closely related to my search. In this way, it seems like Twitter is more instant, straight news that isn’t cluttered with personal issues and relations between people. I think it lends itself really well to the world of journalism and the idea of “fast news.” I would much rather skim a Twitter, where I can somewhat tailor the news I’m receiving to my interests, as opposed to a news organizations website where only about 10% of the headlines I read are of any interest to me.

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