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Ask the Editor - What is Biblical objectivity?


WORLD Radio - Ask the Editor - What is Biblical objectivity?

Defining the key component of WORLD’s journalism

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MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Friday, January 7th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Myrna Brown.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.

Hey, we had a solid month of special pre-rolls emphasizing giving—and, wow, how generous you were! We’re still receiving your contributions by mail, but suffice it to say, and we did say this last month, that you more than met the goal we’d set out.

It’s at least more than 150 percent of the goal, the response was enormous and that’s going to allow us really to be bold in pursuing our mission of Biblically objective journalism. So, thank you again.

But part of the reason to bring this up is that in the meantime, we forgot to remind you about sending in more pre-rolls that aren’t fundraising related.

BROWN: We hear from lots of listeners how much you love hearing all the different accents, the voices of people from all different walks of life, around this big country of ours—even from outside the United States—introducing the program each day.

So if you’ve always wanted to join in the fun here on The World and Everything in It, now’s your chance! You’ll find all the instructions at wng.org/preroll. Remember to keep it to around 20 seconds. And we definitely love hearing different family members or friends creating their pre-rolls together, but do remember, don’t talk over each other—just one speaker at a time.

EICHER: So send us a preroll. We love listening to them, too. As Myrna said, all the instructions are at wng.org/preroll. We started these back in July of 2018 and so back of the envelope math says, we’re closing in on having had 1,000 of these. That’s something special, and we love your taking part in it. So, let us hear from you.

BROWN: Time now for Ask the Editor. WORLD Radio Executive Producer Paul Butler is here to answer a question about our mission.

PAUL BUTLER, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: We frequently wrap up our program with: “WORLD’s mission is Biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.”

On November 18th, I got the following text message from Carl who lives in North Carolina. He asked me: “Hey Paul…what is the definition of ‘Biblically objective journalism’?”

To help answer that question, I pulled out our WORLD policy manual. It begins with a question of its own: “What news do we cover?” The answer comes from Psalm 24:1.

“The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.”

We acknowledge that the Bible should direct what we cover, how we cover, and why we cover stories. We do our best to report all aspects of the news. But we do so from a distinctive worldview. We don’t cover the news to chronicle the glory or folly of man. We cover the news because the earth is the Lord’s and all that it contains.

That provides crucial background for answering Carl’s question. Let’s begin with the phrase “Biblically objective.” Returning to our policy manual, it says:

Reporting and writing for WORLD should be based on the understanding that God is holy, we are sinners, and Christ’s sacrifice bridges the gap. Biblical journalism emphasizes God’s holiness and man’s sinfulness. Every WORLD issue, digital story, and podcast should show this in varying ways.

Skipping ahead a bit, it continues:

Only God knows the true, objective nature of things, so His book, the Bible, is the only completely objective and accurate view of the world. The only true objectivity is Biblical objectivity.

Of course the rub comes when we disagree over what the Bible says. Christians from various denominations have different ways of understanding and applying certain parts of the Holy Scriptures. Also, there are times when we must cover topics that the scriptures don’t directly address.

So we affirm that the common denominator is faith in Christ—an understanding that we are all sinners saved by grace—and we must rely on the Bible as God’s inerrant Word and not on our own understanding.

So we do our best to submit ourselves to the Word of God. When we disagree on specifics, we maintain that Christians from various camps should not insult each other but should instead join forces against the common worldview adversaries that we face.

So that brings us to “journalism.” What do we mean by that? There are two parts I’d like to highlight. The first is our bread and butter: reporting.

Back to our Policy Manual again:

WORLD’s goal whenever possible is to provide street-level rather than suite-level reports.

We put a high value on getting feet on the ground. That’s true for each division at WORLD, but for our podcast platforms that means sending reporters to nonprofits fighting poverty for Effective Compassion. It means meeting the named parties in supreme court cases for Legal Docket. And for The World and Everything in It, it means developing a network of local reporters who can cover news wherever it happens—whether that’s Washington D.C. or in our own backyards. And your generosity in the recent giving drive means we can do even more of that in the year ahead.

The second part of journalism is analysis and opinion. This, too, must be Biblically objective, and grounded in facts. Sometimes we need to provide commentary that offers additional context and understanding. We set it apart, so you know it’s opinion, but it’s still journalism. Our writers synthesize their observations, experiences, and what they know of the world. All of that, informed by God’s word, as well as theological and philosophical rigor. WORLD Magazine calls those columns, WORLD Radio—commentaries. The goal of both is wisdom.

Do we always get things right? No. But by God’s grace we work to improve. And until we get it perfect, we’ll keep repeating our mission in order to remind ourselves of the goal: “Biblically objective journalism, that informs, educates, and inspires.”

I’m Paul Butler.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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