Journactivism and the Threat to Religious Liberty

Journactivism and the Threat to Religious Liberty

The rise of “journactivists,” or journalists who actively engage in advocacy and activism, has become a controversial issue in the field of journalism. While some argue that this approach is necessary to advance social justice and hold those in power accountable, others believe that it undermines the principles of independent reporting and objectivity. In this article, we will examine why journactivism can be problematic and what can be done to address this issue.

Objective Reporting is Dead

Up to our current point in modern history, the news business was divided into three areas. There was new, which was an object report of events; opinion, which only appeared on the editorial page; and advertising which supported the discrimination of news but did not influence either news or opinion.

One of the primary concerns about journactivism today is that it blurs the line between journalism and activism. The role of journalists is to report the facts and provide unbiased analysis, while activists seek to promote a particular agenda or viewpoint. When journalists engage in activism, it can create the impression that they are no longer impartial observers but are instead advocating for a particular cause. This can erode the public’s trust in journalism and make it harder for journalists to be taken seriously as objective reporters. Journactivists appear to have s strong bias against the Christian community,, and this poses a threat to us.

Furthermore, journactivism can lead to sensationalism and exaggeration. When journalists become too emotionally invested in a story, they may be more likely to report on it in a way that plays up the drama and conflict. This can lead to a situation where the news is no longer about informing the public but is instead about grabbing attention and generating clicks. This can create a vicious cycle where journalists feel pressure to engage in more activism to get noticed, leading to even more sensationalized reporting.

Another issue with journactivism is that it can create a hostile environment for independent reporters. When journalists are seen as part of a particular movement or cause, they may be less likely to be trusted by those on the other side of the issue. This can make it difficult for journalists to gain access to sources and information, as people may be wary of speaking to them for fear that their words will be twisted to support a particular agenda. This can make it much harder for independent reporters to do their jobs effectively and can lead to a situation where only those who are willing to engage in journactivism are able to get the story.

How to Solve the Problem

So what can be done about this issue? One possible solution is for news organizations to be more explicit about the distinction between reporting and advocacy. Journalists should be told to report on issues in a fact-based and objective way, rather than advocating for a particular cause. Let them save their bias for the editorial page or the commentary section of their newscast. This can help to rebuild the public’s trust in journalism and make it clear that journalists are there to report the news, not to push an agenda.

Another solution is for journalists to be more transparent about their biases and affiliations. When journalists are upfront about their political beliefs and associations, it can help to create a more honest and open dialogue with their readers. This can also help to mitigate some of the concerns about journactivism, as readers will know where the journalist is coming from and can take their reporting with a grain of salt.

The rise of journactivism is a complex issue that requires action. Biased news is just propaganda. It is severely misguided to suggest that journactivism promotes social justice in some way. That undermines democracy. People need to get the objective story and make up their minds without it being tainted by bias. We need to restore the principles of independent reporting and objectivity.

The Role of Christians in Journalism

Is there hope for a free press in our era of journactivism and the “cancel culture” which is a form of de facto censorship? Only if Christians hold places of power as media executives, producers, assignment editors, and reporters.

It has been nearly a decade since the respected Poynter Institute, an independent media research organization, reported on how many Christians were in newsrooms. Even then, they said the data was not good. The American Society of News Editors polls news outlets about gender and race, the Poynter Institute reported, but they ignore religious preferences.

The only credible figures Poynter could offer were from a 2007 Pew study. All those years ago, Pew said only “8 percent of journalists at national publications and 14 percent of those at local publications reported attending worship services weekly, compared with 39 percent of the general public who reported the same.”

There is no reason to believe Christian representation in newsrooms has improved in the years since the poll. With the current bias in news organizations, they are more likely to have Muslim or liberal Protestants if they have any religious staff members.

Andrew Beaujon, writing for Poynter, quoted Marvin Olasky, then the highly esteemed editor-in-chief of World Magazine. Olasky said that encountering a politically conservative and “theologically Christian” employee at a major newspaper is akin to “spotting a unicorn.”

Send Missionaries to the New York Times and CNN

We must encourage Christian young people to become journalists. Fair-minded journalists with values.

Conservative politics and our Bible-based beliefs intersect sometimes, but that is no reason to think they are the same. As I often say, “The Bible must influence our political and social views. However, we must never allow political and social views to influence our understanding of biblical truth.”

I learned a simple, profound truth from my undergraduate history professor, Dr. Glen Adams. He reminded us, “We are liberal in the areas where we want to see change, but conservative in the areas we think change will hurt us.” We are to serve Christ and his Kingdom, not some transitory social or political ideology. That’s why I’m a political Centrist.

I have a very traditional theological education. I wanted to be a pastor and served in churches before the Lord put me into media ministry many decades ago. As a pastor, I never reached more than 300 people per week. In media ministry, I have reached many hundreds of thousands (or far more) for Christ over the years. With that kind of reach in mind, think about encouraging the best and brightest of our Christian youth to pursue a career in journalism.

There are Christian schools that offer journalism degrees. However, having a degree from such schools will only trigger the entrenched bias of the news establishment. Christian young people must go to the best journalism schools like Northwestern University, the University of Missouri, Columbia, or the University of Southern California. They will stay true to Christ in these places if we have raised them right.

We need Christian journalists embedded in news organizations as salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16). In that way, we can serve both man and God.