For those who have asked, yes, your GetReligionistas read that recent Washington Post story on Liberty University students who want to be journalists.
Spoiler alert: It's a positive portrayal (verging on puff piece) of these evangelical Christian students.
As a journalism graduate of a Christian university, however, I'm not sure this coverage does much to bolster the cause of conservative believers who are training for news careers.
Maybe it's just me, but the students come across as more interested in Christian advocacy than impartial journalism:
LYNCHBURG, Va. — What do you do when everyone around you thinks the media is “fake news” — and you want to work for the media?
That’s the question professor Amy Bonebright needs to help her students answer. This is Liberty University, the world’s largest evangelical Christian school. Most students come from politically and religiously conservative families and churches inclined not to trust the news — and, indeed, the president of the university is Jerry Falwell Jr., a fervent advocate for President Trump, who throws around the term “fakenews” to refer to most mainstream media reporting.
So when Bonebright teaches a room full of aspiring reporters in her “Community Journalism” class, she needs to teach them more than just how to craft a lede and conduct an interview. “Now, everyone’s down on the media,” she says to her class. “Maybe you go home over break and see your parents’ friends. And they say, ‘Remind me what you’re studying.’”
A nervous giggle rises from many of the students. They have had that conversation before.
And the bottom line:
For these college students, the answer to that question is deeply rooted in their faith. Because while they might not always see the news media as truthful, they do believe in the truth of the gospel — and they think that’s a principle they can apply in the newsroom just as they do in the pews.
“As Christians, we believe in truth,” senior Timothy Cockes raises his hand to say. “Christians actually should be the best journalists there are, because we believe there is truth out there.”
Read the whole piece, and you learn that many of the students don't even want to be journalists at all — they want to work in public relations as writers for foreign missionaries. What!?