Diversity in the newsroom: Do followers of Christ count?
There’s been some real soul-searching going on as the country attempts to sort through the issue of racism and find a way forward. Social unrest grips the nation and it seems we are living in one of the most divisive periods since the American Civil War.
It’s in the midst of all this chaos that media heavyweight Gannett announced last week it has committed to achieving gender, racial and ethnic parity in its newsrooms by 2025.
Isn’t it funny how when media moguls start pontificating about diversity they never seem to include the millions of devout Christians in their equation? If there is a sector of our society that is almost completely absent from America’s newsrooms, it’s fervent Catholics and Christians. In other words, pro-lifers and people whose allegiance to Jesus Christ comes first in their lives. In short, journalists who are formed by the Gospel instead of CNN et al.
Why does this matter? Well, if you’re going to say that newsrooms should reflect the communities they serve, why are people of deep Christian faith strangely absent? Back in 2007, Pew Research reported that only 8 percent of journalists at national media outlets attended religious services weekly. The same survey said 29 percent never attend religious services.
And this is why when mainstream media outlets “report” on issues like abortion, gay marriage, assisted suicide and other thorny topics, the views of millions of intelligent people are entirely ignored. Massive pro-life rallies barely get coverage. No one looks for quotes from non-Westboro-Baptist-Church clergyman who can defend traditional marriage as an institution for the last several millennia. We get soft-serve stories about so-called death with dignity. It can only be tone-deafness that explains the bewilderment at serious Christians’ loss of faith in the mainstream media.
Ask yourself the next time you read about one of these contentious topics in a secular newspaper: Who did they interview? Were both sides equally and fairly presented? What was left out? What isn’t being said?
It’s true that prospective employers can’t ask applicants about their religion, but as long as they are trying to diversify their newsrooms, shouldn’t they be recruiting from places like Catholic University of America or Franciscan University of Steubenville? They’ve got journalism programs.
Then again, why would devout Catholic Christians want to subject themselves to the steady drumbeat of secularism, the disregard for their beliefs, the assumption that sensible folks don’t really believe that Transubstantiation stuff much less Humanae Vitae? (“Come on! You’re an educated person,” one atheist prodded me years ago. “You don’t really believe that stuff, do you?”) Working for a Catholic or Christian publication would be far more comfortable. I know—I did it for 18 years.
And this is where it must be said: We weren’t called to be comfortable in this life. We are called to be witnesses. Wherever God has you — at home or in the workplace — let your faith in Christ shine. Look for ways to share the hope you have found in Jesus. Wear a cross or a medal. Say grace before you eat. Defend the faith, even if it means you’ll be ridiculed. Find little ways to share the light. Be fearless.
St. Paul sums it up: We are ambassadors of Christ. Let’s get to work!