BROWN: Next up on The World and Everything in It: Ask the Editor…Paul, what do you have for us?
PAUL BUTLER, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Well Myrna, two comments today: one about street-level journalism and the other regarding the faith of our sources. Our first email today comes from 5th grade school teacher Kathryn Lewis. This is what she writes:
WORLD’s recent cover story on American exceptionalism strays from the organization’s ethos of street level journalism. I subscribe to WORLD because it uniquely reports on actual current events happening here and all around the world, not because I’m looking for a history lesson. WORLD does better when it reports on real events happening in real time.
We’ve had a few similar observations over the last year since our recent magazine redesign. Some readers wonder if we are straying from our mission of street level, Biblically directed reporting. For this one, I thought I’d invite Lynn Vincent to respond. She’s the executive producer of WORLD Magazine and we serve together on the Editorial Council.
LYNN VINCENT: Thanks Paul. First, a little history: I worked full-time for WORLD Magazine from 1998 to 2009 before rejoining WORLD in 2022 as the magazine's executive editor. I have received every issue since 1998. From 2009 to 2022 I was primarily a subscriber. The problem is, I live in California. Besides other … well … problems associated with living in California, one is the incredibly slow mail—especially post-pandemic. You may have noticed that in your area as well.
In today’s fast-moving, instant-everything news environment, this presents a challenge for a magazine that arrives in your mailbox every two weeks. So when I became editor, I asked myself, how can we provide our subscribers with a rich, value-added reading experience that feels fresh even if it takes a little time for them to receive their copy?
What we decided to do was embrace the fact that while WORLD radio and digital are more suited to breaking and daily news, WORLD magazine is uniquely suited to bring you in-depth reporting and analysis, profiles, and longer-form journalism from a Biblical worldview.
In fact, I believe that WORLD Magazine now provides our members with deeply reported — as well as under- or unreported stories—that are unavailable anywhere else. We are doubling down on street-level, Biblically directed reporting in four ways:
- We've refreshed our approach to the opening story in our Dispatches department. That story is now the last item reported and written before the magazine goes to press. This is to ensure we bring fresh reportage from a Christian worldview to a story that’s in the news.
- We've added four pages of U.S. and global news briefs. These briefs focus on delivering underreported or unreported news in America and around the world.
- And we've returned to reporting news in our Notebook section at the back of each issue…covering “beats” like sports, technology, science, religion, and education.
- Our 18-page features section focuses on in-depth reporting, presented with beautiful photography and informative graphics. We’re also excited to include occasional cover essays by Christian thinkers who are experts in their fields. Like columnist Cal Thomas on the fall of journalism. Molecular biochemist Michael Behe on how advances in the field of microscopy are also advancing the Biblical view of origins. And Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon on the left’s attack on the art of satire.
So, for daily and weekly news coverage, continue listening to The World and Everything In It — or visit WORLD Digital at WNG.org. And for in-depth reporting and long-form journalism, as well as Biblically directed coverage of news around the globe, subscribe to WORLD Magazine.
And now, you can even get six issues free! Just visit WNG.org/trial. That’s WNG.org/trial.
Thanks. I’m Lynn Vincent.
PB: For our second question today…one that came in a few days ago from listener Victor Chen. He writes:
I often wonder how many guests on the WORLD podcast are non-believers? And are any people hostile that the podcast is Christian and refuse to be on the program?
Well Victor, I don’t have an exact number for you…but here are three things about our process. First, for any news story that has clear Biblical teaching—or a crucial Christian worldview connection—we primarily look for Christian sources to address and analyze those issues. In addition to expertise in their field, we try to find believers with a shared conviction regarding the foundational nature of God’s revelation in the scriptures. That doesn’t mean we agree theologically on every point, but we believe that they have Spirit-led insights that can help fellow Christians understand and interpret the news better than non-believing sources.
Second, there are a lot of news stories that are purely informational. Stories without obvious Biblical worldview ramifications. For these stories we feel comfortable casting a broader net. We may find an expert who can help us understand economics, government policy, or technology who doesn’t share our faith—though we often look for believers first…but we don’t restrict it.
Third, there are some occasions where we actively seek out guests who we fundamentally disagree with. Either to better understand their position…or because there is some shared ground on an issue…like our recent interview with Erin Friday on protecting kids from transgender ideology.
Finally, to your last question...there are times when we approach possible sources or experts who decline to participate when they discover our Christian commitments. But it’s amazing to me how many non-believers are actually intrigued by our approach. While some get nasty, I’ve also had experts graciously decline an interview and then go on to suggest a Christian colleague or source they know.
The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 12:18: “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” Let’s face it, many people have had bad experiences with reporters. And bad experiences with Christians. So it’s not surprising that it’s sometimes hard to get non-believers to trust us. But I believe our commitment to the truth, plus our track record for respecting people who disagree with us, often earns us access to those who may not usually be open to talking to a Christian news organization.
And that’s this month’s Ask the Editor. I’m Paul Butler.
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