From One Journalism Major to Another
I can’t pinpoint precisely when I knew God had placed the call to journalism on my life.
Was it when I hunted down enrollment numbers for my very first story with the student newspaper? Was it when I instantly realized in the class of Michael Longinow, the chair of our department, that nothing could be closer to Christ’s heart than truth telling? Was it when I interviewed that selfless 13-year-old girl giving her Friday night to feed the homeless on the not-so-glamorous streets of Las Vegas, or the street-bound man on Skid Row whose family had deserted him and couldn’t seem to escape the haunting loneliness?
Perhaps it was a combination of those experiences and many others. But one thing is clear to anyone who has interacted with Biola’s journalism department — at Biola, journalism is not treated as just a career, but as a divine calling. And through both classroom and out-of-the-classroom experiences, we form a more definite sense of the nature and purpose of that calling. Through the mass media, we journalists have the opportunity to reach large groups of people with story, a powerful tool never to be underestimated.
Laden with this sense of calling, we are equipped for life after graduation through mastering multiple media platforms, meeting with real-world professionals, and getting hands-on experience with campus media. As we are equipped technologically and mentally for the rapidly changing media world, that world becomes something to anticipate with excitement, rather than to shrink from for fear of the unknown. For, it is this generation that will harness and shape the next few decades in the industry.
Fundamentally, we learn the duty of illuminating truth to a world darkened by despair and plagued by sin. As image bearers of Christ, the essence and source of all Truth, (John 14:6) Christians are called to be truth bearers. That also means we are held to the highest of standards, something each of the professors reminds us in our classes and outside internships. For, ultimately, we know it is not man, but the Lord Christ we are serving (Colossians 3:24).
Sometimes, telling truth means exposing human error, in the way that Samuel exposed David’s sin through a parable in 2 Samuel 12. We are encouraged to investigate the difficult, messy stories most people wouldn’t touch. If we don’t, who will?
But we are also encouraged to give a voice to the voiceless and listen to “the least of these” — the marginalized in society — as Jesus did constantly (Matthew 24:40). If we don’t, who will?
Such work is not only our duty, but also, our privilege. Fundamentally, journalism at Biola is about people, not projects. Professors teach us to treat each person not as just a source, but as an eternal soul.
Some contend that the media world is far too secular and too devoid of principles for Christians to enter it. But without Christians, how can we expect it to be anything different? It is precisely this sharp disconnect that should compel Christians to saturate the media and, consequentially, the world, with truth, fairness, diligence and excellence.
If we don’t answer the call, who will?