Newsflash: Christian journalists emerge!

newsflashMonday morning’s popular-with-journalists Romenesko linked to an item about a local high school graduate heading off to the Big Apple to work for the website operated by the Fox News Channel.

In what was a rather banal news story, Romenesko saw a big headline: “Intern believes it was God’s will for her to pursue journalism.”

Oh. My. Gosh. A young journalist interns at Fox News and says that it’s God’s will for her to pursue a journalism career. That proves just about everything we’ve suspected about Rupert Murdoch and his cable news network, now doesn’t it?

Here’s how the Longview (Texas) News-Journal played the story, with the headline “Native gains experience with Fox News”:

One Pine Tree graduate has landed her dream internship this summer. Audrey Bright, a senior communications and public relations major at Berry College in Georgia, is spending her summer working for in New York City.

Bright, 20, became interested in journalism when she was in high school. Her parents and a couple of teachers encouraged her to compete in University Interscholastic League journalism competitions. She qualified for the state competition for headline writing her first year of competition.

She said she felt it was God’s will for her to pursue journalism. She completed her first internship with the American Anglican Council’s department of communications in Atlanta, but then she wanted to complete another internship before she graduated college.

A more interesting Christian-as-adjective journalism piece in the past week was Howard Kurtz Washington Post profile of Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody (who blogs here).

I guess a smart, wisecracking, reporter for Pat Robertson’s television network who is developing a reputation among the 2008 Democratic presidential campaigns as “fair” and was raised Jewish is worth a news profile. But aren’t there other Christian journalists out there who have attitude and blog?

Brody occupies an unusual niche. He is a reporter for the Christian Broadcasting Network who has forged good relations with Democrats. He is a wisecracking blogger who is part of Pat Robertson’s religious empire. And he was raised as a Jew, although he now believes in Jesus Christ as his lord and savior.

Brody is, in short, a Christian journalist with chutzpah.

While his reports appear not just on a daily CBN newscast but on Robertson’s “700 Club,” Brody says, “I bury my head and do my job. I’m talking to Republicans, Democrats, conservatives, liberals, people on both sides of the aisle. I’m kind of in my own world. . . .

“The perception by Democratic candidates — and it’s not the reality — is that it’s just a conservative religious audience,” Brody says at the network’s modern Washington bureau on M Street NW. “My fervent desire is to explain to them that there’s a treasure-trove of people out there waiting to hear from them. They can’t pigeonhole CBN.”

As much as I’d like to be sarcastic about it, Kurtz actually tells a pretty good story here. Not only are Democratic candidates turning to people like CNN’s Soledad O’Brien to express their newfound faith in, well, expressing their faith, they are also finding that not all people associated with Pat Robertson are like, well, Pat Robertson.

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  • Dan

    For someone who pays close attention to language, you seem to have slipped up several times in this item. Specifically, you have repeatedly conflated the terms “Christian” and “evangelical Christian.” The first story is not simply about “Christian journalists” emerging. You’re right — that wouldn’t be newsworthy. But the story is about an evangelical Christian who is open about her faith. Ditto with the CBN reporter.

    Christians have been in the business forever. I can’t count the number of Catholics in my newsroom. There are some mainline Christians as well. But it’s a different story with evangelical Christians. Perhaps the small number of evangelicals in the industry, particularly on political beats, is due to the suspicions that evangelical Christians and members of the mainstream media have about each other. I certainly heard regular criticism of “the media” at the Bible church and Christian college I attended growing up, and I regularly hear concerns today about “holy rollers” and “fundamentalists” among both politicians and journalists. My point: Despite your sarcasm, perhaps it is newsworthy when someone lives comfortably — or even uncomfortably — in both worlds.