The American press has long been used as a platform to voice religious viewpoints, but British journalism seems to rarely be influenced by religion, faith and God – let alone explicitly mention it. It’s even more unusual to find a high-flying media professional who is open about their faith. Why is this?
Perhaps the problem started at the beginning of the 20th century; ‘Where once Christians dominated the arts, believers stayed away from the “worldly” media during the critical years when movies, radio and television were invented.’ (See Praying the News: Your Prayers Are More Powerful Than You Know by Wendy Griffith and Craig Von Busec) However, Christians today recognise the need for Christ to be represented in every aspect of society – particularly in an industry as influential as the media. Working in such an environment presents its own unique challenges and opportunities, where actions really do speak louder than words (1 John 3:18).
Throughout a journalist’s career, one of the biggest challenges is to act with integrity. So often the way up involves clambering over others – whether that’s scooping a news story from under a colleague, belittling others’ character and skills to get a promotion or making decisions that ultimately prioritise your story or career over everything else. The News of the World phone hacking scandal shocked the country when it fully emerged in 2011 (see www.levesoninquiry.org.uk for more information) but in fact, similar stories have probably been woven through the murky past of journalism since mass-produced media began. Being a source of light and refusing to compromise your ethics to get ahead is increasingly important. It’s the day-to-day decisions that colleagues will notice.
Despite accusations to the contrary, the press mostly aims for unbiased, objective reporting – conveying the facts without any external influence. Perhaps one of the reasons the media appears to be lacking in Christian influence is that it is therefore difficult to get a pro-Christian article published or even put a Christian slant on a secular article. However, anti-Christian angles are increasingly prevalent, so it’s vital that Christians are present in the newsrooms, offices and publishing houses across the country to provide an alternative opinion when an anti-Christian article is about to run.
But ultimately, most Christian journalists need to prove that they’re professionals first, Christians second – to others, you are defined by how you perform. As a journalist, others will respect your views on God far more if you’ve already proven yourself in your career. If you go in singing God’s praises but don’t perform in the day job, you’re going to be out the door – along with any gravitas your testimony might once have had, too.
It’s a challenge we can all take up, no matter what industry we work in: ‘Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God’ (1 Corinthians 10:31). And don’t just do it – excel at it. Make others sit up and take notice so you can give the glory back to Him.
Re-printed with permission from www.bible-reflections.net