Behind the scenes at WORLD Watch

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Thursday, August 6th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: And I’m Megan Basham. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: a brand new way to get the news of the world.

On May 1st, WORLD Watch News in 3 made its debut on YouTube. It’s a video news program for students from grade school to high school.

EICHER: On Monday, we launch the full WORLD Watch program. WORLD senior correspondent Myrna Brown takes you behind the scenes of our latest venture—nearly 40 years in the making.

WORLD NEWS IN 3: This is what’s known as a splash down…  

MYRNA BROWN, REPORTER: It’s early afternoon at the WORLD headquarters in Asheville, North Carolina. A team of young reporters and staff are working feverishly—putting the final touches on the next day’s WORLD Watch video news program. 

BING: So that will be his raw take into this.

BASHAM: Good Morning, It’s Tuesday, August 4th and you’re watching WORLD Watch News in 3.

WORLD Watch is the latest development in a 40-year dream.

In 1981 Joel Belz began the children’s publication God’s WORLD News—in honor of his father:

BELZ: He said speak the truth to a 12 year old and then you’ll be amazed at how many adults are listening in. 

And they were. Soon, parents were asking for a news publication from a Christian worldview of their own. And WORLD Magazine was born. 

CEO Kevin Martin sees the WORLD Watch News as a return to Belz’s founding vision:

MARTIN: The reason we serve kids, is because Joel served kids….It is full circle because he started with Kid’s Papers and expanded that into World Magazine and that became the podcast and the digital and now we’re going back to kids again with the videos.

The current pandemic provided a great opportunity to step in and help families and educators. The timing was right.

MARTIN: All these kids who couldn’t go to school were at home and so in April we started saying why don’t we just start producing a short version of this program and just see what we can do with it. 

70 shows later, the WORLD Watch team is finally settling into a production rhythm. 

MEETING: Why don’t we bow our heads for a minute. Heavenly Father, we thank you for this week that you’ve given us. 

It starts around a black table in a small conference room overlooking a huge green screen. 

MEETING: I have a feature I want to bounce off you guys.

WORLD Watch associate producer, Rich Bishop kicks off the morning editorial meetings, pitching stories he discovers from various sources. 

BISHOP: Evaluating whether or not the story will give us some good visuals to work with or whether it’s truly a headline story. And whether or not the kids really number one, should know about it and number two, want to know about it.  

After the team settles on content and flow, reporters get their story assignments.

AUDIO: Let’s have Sarah do NASA milestone story.  

If that voice sounds familiar, it should. Nick Eicher, co-host of The World And Everything in It, has also helped to launch WORLD Magazine and WORLD digital. For the past three months, he’s been working on WORLD Watch with program director and host, Brian “The Big Bash” Basham. 

EICHER: What else would you call him? He’s big and happy and lights up every room that he walks into and it’s like, It’s the Big Bash. He’s fun to work with, he’s got a lot of broadcast knowledge.  

Basham uses that experience to lead and mentor the team of six reporters; recent WORLD Journalism Institute graduates, Hannah Harris and Michelle Schlavin, along with a few voices you’ve heard before.  

EICHER: Kristen Flavin, Sarah Schwiensberg, Anna Johannen, they’re helping out as they can.

FARRAR: I’m Taylor. Nice to meet you. 

New to the team, Liberty University graduate, Taylor Farrar. And rounding out the crew, a television news veteran who spends his days making every frame count. 

BASHAM: Every time we get to the end of the show, he adds this little element to take us off.

Basham also has a signature closing. 

AUDIO: I’m the Big Bash and remember, whatever the news, the purpose of the Lord will stand.

 BASHAM: There’s a lot of bad stuff in there that you don’t want to dwell on. We just want to let kids know you’re going to hear a lot of bad stuff. You’re going to be living in a lot of stuff that’s not great. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter does it? Because his purpose is going to prevail.

When WORLD Watch News expands on August 10th, Joel Belz will be watching and celebrating

Earlier this week, he stopped by the studio to encourage the team.  

BELZ: I don’t know who chose this auspicious day. August 10th is a pretty big day. It’s my birthday. You guys work and we’ll see if it measures up. I can’t imagine anyone having a grander gift than to see all of this unfolding and with such a stellar group of people. So thank you, in the Lord’s name. 

After many years of dreaming, and months of planning, Nick Eicher reflects on Belz’s legacy. He does so by quoting from Deuteronomy 6:

EICHER: It’s like in Deuteronomy we’re harvesting in vineyards we didn’t plant. We’re living in homes that we didn’t build. We’ve got giants on whose shoulders we stand and Joel Belz is one of those people.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Myrna Brown in Asheville, North Carolina.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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