Les Sillars – How much is Biblical journalism worth?

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Tuesday, December 15th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.

How should we value Biblical journalism?

Here’s WORLD commentator and Patrick Henry College journalism professor Les Sillars.

LES SILLARS, COMMENTATOR: On June 30, 1945, people in New York City were going about their usual daily lives, working, shopping.

AUDIO: Part of this normal life was newspapers, taken as a matter of course by everyone.

People took those newspapers for granted.

AUDIO: No reason to contemplate what life without newspapers would mean. Until suddenly and with little warning—Strike!

The delivery men of eight New York newspapers went on strike late in the afternoon. It lasted 17 days. One paper, The News, produced a newsreel about it afterward.

AUDIO: Newspaper trucks stopped rolling. Newsstands formerly piled high with eight daily New York newspapers, were devoid of newspapers, devoid of customers, barren as a desert waste.

Thirteen million readers lost their printed news.

AUDIO: And this at a time when great events were in the making the world over.

The Second World War was nearing its end. President Truman was headed to a meeting of the Big Three and American bombers were laying waste to Japanese cities. People wanted to know, needed to know, what was going on.

AUDIO: Now newspapers were more than a habit. More than a convenience. They were a necessity.

In desperation, people flocked to the printing plants of their favorite papers to buy a copy in person. Sometimes they stood in line for hours.

AUDIO: Trouble. Inconvenience. This was the price paid each day for New York newspapers by long lines of people in rain and sun. Standing for hours on hard concrete, risking bodily harm by cutting through picket lines…

Why would they do this? Columbia University researcher Bernard Berelson sent out students to interview people during the strike. Many said they felt lost and uncertain without their newspapers. “I am like a fish out of water,” said one person. Another felt uneasy because, quote, “I don’t know what I am missing—and when I don’t know I worry.” Said another: “I sat around in the subway, staring, feeling out of place.”

Today there is no shortage of news. Our culture is drowning in an ocean of information. But somehow more and more people still feel like those news-deprived New Yorkers. Big things are happening, yet so many people feel anxious and uncertain.

Perhaps that’s in part because the vast majority of “news” flooding out of screens today is irrelevant, incoherent, or just plain nonsense. News like that is worse than no news at all.

But at WORLD you’ll find biblically objective journalism. New Yorkers in 1945 stood in line for hours to pay today’s equivalent of 70 cents to get news. They didn’t know when, or if, their favorite newspaper would return.

That won’t happen to WORLD’s readers and listeners as long as we keep asking ourselves, what’s Biblical journalism worth to me? What would I do without World News Group? So head on over to wng.org/donate.

And I’ll go one further. The vast majority of our readers and listeners don’t actively support our work. Some people just can’t afford it, and that’s fine. But if you like what we do here at WORLD, think for a minute about how much more news we could produce if everyone who enjoys this program contributed even a few bucks a month.

AUDIO: Such is the miracle of journalism, and such is the significance of newspapers to their readers.

I’m Les Sillars. Merry Christmas, and thanks for your support.


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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