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Les Sillars - Advice for budding Christian reporters


WORLD Radio - Les Sillars - Advice for budding Christian reporters

Journalism is a profoundly noble and deeply Biblical calling

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MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Wednesday, June 1st. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

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

WORLD Correspondent and Patrick Henry College journalism professor Les Sillars was here teaching at World Journalism Institute last week.

And he has a few final words about what it means to be a Christian and a journalist.

LES SILLARS, COMMENTATOR: Hey, I hope you guys are having a good week there with Nick and Naomi and Lee and the rest of them. Koryn—commas inside the quote marks, OK? Always. Adele, we’ll keep praying for your family in Ukraine. Abi—remember, a limp and an eyepatch. Jack—don’t let’ em give you any shine about your hair, alright? You look good. I want you to know that.

There’s something else I’m not sure I was totally clear about. But let’s just review a bit first. We talked a lot about how the job of the journalist is to see the world clearly and to help others see it clearly too. You have to understand the people, the ideas, and the events that shape our culture. You have to be a student of human nature. You have to be part historian, part theologian, and part philosopher.

And we discussed how you have to be a storyteller at heart. We all live our lives as stories. We want or need things, so we make choices that lead to consequences that lead to more choices. That’s why we learn best through stories. That’s why the Bible is mostly stories and not mostly a theology textbook.

So, just remember, here’s what great journalists do: they tell the stories that help people understand their own stories. That help them understand the stories of their families, their culture, and their nation. And Christian journalists go one step further: they tell the stories that help people put themselves in the context of God’s Great Story: Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration.

And if the Bible is the only authoritative source of key truths about God, humanity, and reality, then a reporter can hope to tell true stories only insofar as Scripture informs his or her reporting and writing. To me, that’s what it means to be Biblically objective.

This matters so much. As the philosopher Alisdair MacIntyre put it, you can’t know what you’re supposed to do until you know what stories you’re part of. In fact, you don’t even really know who you are until you know what stories you’re part of.

So to my 28 new young friends: you guys are really sharp. I had a great week with you.

Some of you will intern with or work for World, and others are heading to jobs at secular publications. No matter where you end up, there’s one last thing that I hope sticks with you from this session of WJI. It’s this: Journalism is a profoundly noble and deeply Biblical calling. Stories shape people, and they shape cultures. So journalism matters. A lot. Sure, it’s easy to do it badly. But you have a chance to do it well. Don’t take it for granted. I’ll see you around.

I’m Les Sillars.

MUSIC: Sunday Times by London Wainwright

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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