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Real journalism reflects absolute truth of Christ

Firstly, it’s pronounced “TRIG-es-tad.” I know that’s been bugging some of you for years.
Secondly, I believe that Christian journalism, when done right, is the fulfillment of what God intended journalism to be. All of the goals we aspire to as reporters and editors — accuracy, objectivity, fairness, balance — should be hallmarks of our Christian faith.
My odd last name, actually, is a farming village in Norway. My great-grandfather, Ole Tryggestad, lived there until 1910, when he came to the U.S. in search of a warmer climate.
He chose South Dakota.
I made it considerably farther south — to Savannah, Ga. — before moving to Oklahoma 12 years ago, where it’s been my honor to serve readers of The Christian Chronicle.
I worked for two daily newspapers in Georgia as a reporter and editor before I moved here, and all of my coworkers thought I was getting out of the business of “real journalism.” So did I.
I was wrong.
In the past dozen years, I’ve come to realize that Christian journalism isn’t a subset of news media. We’re not a niche publication or a special-interest group.
Journalism, in its purest form, is a search for truth, and Christian journalists labor in the service of the absolute truth of Jesus Christ. Since what we believe is the truth, it can withstand any amount of scrutiny.
Newspapers have been in my blood for a long time. I was born in Falls Church, Va., just outside Washington, and the Watergate hearings were on the TV in my mom’s hospital room. Woodward and Bernstein became my heroes, alongside Luke Skywalker. I used to dream of writing for The Washington Post — and becoming a Jedi.
I published my first newspaper in fourth grade — The GoBot News, for all of us who collected little, die-cast metal robots that turned into cars, helicopters and motorcycles. Our first breaking story was about a rival toy line that had just emerged — the Transformers. I even brought in a legal expert, Ryan Hensley, to report on copyright law. (His dad was a lawyer — or watched a lot of “Perry Mason” reruns. I forget.)
I still love writing. Since joining the Chronicle staff in 2001, I have visited Churches of Christ in 50 countries, reporting international news. I am humbled by the faith I encounter in our brothers and sisters around the globe.
I delight in sharing their stories — especially those in far-flung, nearly forgotten cities with names such as Ouagadougou, Ordzhonikidze, Paramakatoi and Ishinomaki. (A love of hard-to-pronounce places is in my genetic code, after all.)
One of my all-time favorite discussions was with a young woman named Galina who attended a small Church of Christ in Tallinn, Estonia, just south of Finland.
“Surely you write about Catholics and Methodists,” she asked me, “not just Churches of Christ, right?”
I told her our mission — to inform, inspire and unite Churches of Christ. She was amazed to learn that there are enough of us, worldwide, to warrant our own newspaper.
As I have worked alongside dedicated Christian writers and editors, I have watched the daily newspaper industry that I love shrink and shrivel.
Across the nation, papers are hemorrhaging dedicated journalists who labored not to bring glory to their own names but to tell the stories that others weren’t telling.
What has replaced them, unfortunately, is unsubstantiated Internet gossip, bad political punditry and downright drivel — news that incites rather than informs. In part, it’s a result of our postmodern society. When we reject absolute truth, our goal changes from the pursuit of objectivity to the boisterous proclamation of our own “truths,” as loudly and as frequently as possible.
God expects us to do better.
As editor of The Christian Chronicle, I hope to build on the foundation that Olan Hicks laid nearly 71 years ago, continued today by our dedicated staff and supported by our faith-filled board of trustees.
I want this publication to report the news of the Lord’s church with fairness and accuracy — based on our dedication to Jesus and his teachings. We are part of a family of faith that seeks to restore New Testament Christianity. I want us to investigate and share the stories of restoration at our doorsteps and in the farthest reaches of the earth.
I do not want us to ignore challenges facing the church, nor do I want us to be muckraking rumormongers. We will not shy away from topics that frighten us. We will, instead, endeavor to cover them in a way that represents numerous viewpoints and promotes thoughtful discussion.
We will not succeed always, and we ask for your forgiveness when we fall short of the mark.
We encourage and covet your feedback as we endeavor to practice real journalism — the way God intended it.

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Filed under: Inside Story

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