Shop talk was one of the trademarks of Paul Harvey’s radio features and something that was welcomed as a “state of the industry” and a “state of the culture” to look at the backbone of media and culture we only need to gauge our level of journalism and writing about history and interpreting objectively what documents are intended to do. At the Digital Press Club, https://digitalpressclub.wordpress.com a group of men and women are stoking the digital yule tide log and discussing what motives they have for writing what they write about; what approach is taken in the analysis; research and development of stories; and what power is used in getting to the purest of journalistic endeavors which is “truth.” In Denver we have some good reporters and a fairly good representation of objectivity integrated with values and ethics; this speaks volumes to an audience that mostly thrives on getting to the bottom of issues; stories and interactive and citizen journalism. One of the citizen journalists is a preacher among other things (not including appliance sales person).
Bridges of interpretation
He clears his throat, a little intimated by the heavy hitters who carry their Edward R Murrow awards on their sleeves and don’t bring their Bibles to work with them. “There is a text book that could be used in getting to truth in any story.” A journalism professor from a local university perks up as the preacher continues: ” It asks several questions that include real breakthroughs to solid interpretation of Biblical passages. One of the first ways is to take an historic document and study the life and times of the writer and who the document is written to. “Once there you can then pull out the meaning of the story and what it means to the people at the time it was written.” The professor stops the preacher and asks,”Could that not work for different cultures in our own time and in our own city?” The preacher gains confidence; “of course it is the task of journalists and journalists as missionaries and it is the task of the prophets to understand how to communicate and interpret writing and correspondence.”
Measuring the width of the interpretive river
How far is the wording and the thought from the historic and cultural river in years and understanding? When looking at the Denver City and County, State Constitution, and even the United States Constitution, what was the motive, approach and what kind of power was in the wording and how far is the meaning of the wording from what it means in our town today? “This is an analysis we do not normally discuss in our articles, or when we report for our broadcasts.” The preacher has the room’s attention and then talks about crossing the bridge into the here and now.
Journalists come in all shapes, sizes, cultures and languages. The Digital Press Club is a testament to diversity and opinions. The hat and coat check person also checks opinions and bias at the door. The preacher helps the room of people cross the interpretive bridge. “What does the passage, document, letter, or article mean to us today?” For relativists it means various things, for theologists, psychologists and philosophers it means something related to specific modes of living life. “The conversation is like opening up a suggestion box in the editorial room,” says one of the reporters. For evangelists the Ten Commandments doesn’t mean “the ten suggestions,” and depending on what documents, letters, laws and constitution the people are reading or talking about and what power and impact the document has over people’s lives and lifestyle, the journalist needs to communicate that no matter what they may personally think of the idea and communicate the intended meaning of what it means today to the various and diverse cultures. The pastor smiles, “Every missionary we send out of our church has to use this method of reporting and studying who they are ministering to, so why not journalists?”
Research and development
In developing stories the task of the media speaking to the culture it is important that the trusted journalist does the homework involved in reporting, researching and developing the story. While it starts with getting to the author’s intended meaning and motive, the approach of the journalist is to get out and go through due diligence on getting the cultural background, historic, geographic, and technological differences from when documents, letters and ideas were initially produced and what they have meant throughout time and cultures.
Illustrations, examples, and interviews
In developing a thesis and a story, supporting documentation, illustrations and maps, examples and common interest as well as showing cause and effect in people’s lives and lifestyles are the continuous methods in the science of journalism and communications. There is a direct correlation between what the mind thinks and the heart feels or doesn’t feel. There is a kinetic connection in what we think, feel and what we say and do. There is truth in the adage to “if you want to know what people care about than follow their checkbook.”
Digital Press Club and the people message
At the Digital Press Club they are dedicated to developing “citizen journalists and content” that invests in communicating without apologizing for “Loving God with all their heart, mind and soul, and loving people as we would like to be loved.” That is bottom lined truth that may seem more like “Cause Journalism” and “Community Journalism.” The preacher continues, “There’s no way that in Denver that the media can effectively communicate with our diverse cultures without breaking through the language barrier with the words we use; by integrating regular dialogue; developing thoughtful writers and communicators; and integrating what the mind thinks with how the heart feels; and what we say and do.” If what we say and do means an everyday practice of loving God, and loving the people who God loves which allows everyone access to “truth.” “Knowledge of the truth means nothing if not kindled with kindness,” the preacher continues, and like preparing for a sermon, the communicator better do his or her homework. Most of the various digital reporters agree with the motive, approach and power method and shake the preacher’s hand as they go into the cold, live, streets in Glasgow; Paris, Brooklyn and Denver to gather news and truth in their town.