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Ask the Editor: Why enter the wasteland of social media?


WORLD Radio - Ask the Editor: Why enter the wasteland of social media?

Executive producer Paul Butler asks WORLD Watch program director Brian Basham about how to bring truth online

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MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Friday, January 5th, 2024. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. Up next, Ask the Editor. This time, WORLD Radio Executive Producer Paul Butler has a question of his own.

PAUL BUTLER: Thanks to John Stonestreet and others we are very familiar with the phrase: “the marketplace of ideas,” the call to enter the marketplace with the truth.

During this week’s Editorial Council meeting, WORLD Watch Program Director Brian Basham unveiled a new initiative his team is working on: to bring WORLD’s journalism to young people on social media.

Not as just a promotional tool, but as a delivery tool. A platform.

With all the negative press this past year on the effects of social media on young people in particular, we enter this space cautiously. Social media has proven to be less of a “marketplace” and more of a “wilderness.”

So after our meeting, I caught up with Brian and asked him about why he believes so strongly that entering the vast wasteland of “the socials” is important for us as Christian journalists.

BRIAN BASHAM: As I started to kind of reflect on these last couple of years, we have not really had a good presence on social media. Now, in all fairness, that was intentional. I do think it's a cancer on society. And…I think that there's a lot of bad that's happening there…but…I think we're called…to go out into the world…and disciple, right. And as I started to think about this, I started to actually feel guilty, that we were just completely neglecting this place where all these people live…

A lot of the products we create at WORLD are for people who are looking for us, but Brian makes the argument about making sure we also get out there and offer journalism based in facts and Biblical truth to those who aren’t looking for us.

BASHAM: Well, let me say this, I think it's important for us to be working with people so that they can hear our perspective and understand what the objective truth is about a certain subject. And as far as going out into the world…and providing stuff—like on social media—...hey, all these people are out there. And I think everybody's searching for the truth…and when they hear it, I think they will respond to it. And so if we don't go into the places where they are, and where they're listening to things, and doing things, well, then they're not going to get it. And so that's why I think it's important for us to go ahead and step out there and be available to them.

WORLD is hesitant to drive our current audiences to social media. But we are looking for ways to reach people wherever they’re at. It’s why we started our daily newscast for Christian radio stations last year. it’s why we post this program on all the podcast platforms instead of pushing audiences to our own portal. And it’s why we’re taking another look at social networking platforms:

BRIAN BASHAM: I think it's important for Christians to be shaping the news: what we talk about, how we talk about it. I think…the news media in general is…antithetical to Christian values. And so if you do not have people in there, speaking into that, or…acting as somewhat of a guardrail against things that are totally working against it, then it's going…to kind of run amok…And so I think it's important for us to be in there and…helping make that happen.

So thank you to everyone who participated in our year end fundraising efforts to make initiatives like these a reality. We’re greatly encouraged by your support and the many WORLD movers who make it possible to not only enter the marketplace of ideas, but the wilderness as well.

That’s this month’s Ask the Editor. 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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