by Drew Page
I often tell my friends I have the dream job for a journalist because I get to tell good news, stories about people and churches making a positive impact on the people around them.
One great example is the story I wrote about Isaac Monts and Emily McKenna, two Connecticut Conference colleagues who facilitated a racial justice training at Southington High School. How many high schools can you name that bring in two individuals from a religious organization to help teachers recognize the racism that exists within their own walls?
That story has been read by just over 500 people.
You may be asking, “Is that good? How does it compare to other stories the Conference publishes?”
Well, the Connecticut Conference has 236 churches with over 60,000 members.
Less than 1% of the conference has read the story.
Telling our stories is easier today that it ever was. The first World Wide Web pages — hypertext pages that were read by browsers — were posted in 1991 almost 30 years ago. Before that, the fastest news was found on cable news channels on television, and only big, national news made it to those outlets. In contrast, last week, I interviewed a church leader about a program, and then wrote, edited, and posted a story to the CTUCC website and social media in under two hours. Want something faster? People at the Super Saturday event in Massachusetts this weekend were posting photos of Rev. Kent Siladi’s shamrock suit as soon as he walked in the building.
Telling a story is not a challenge; sharing the story to a wider audience is.
Perhaps this is due to our narrative conditioning; readers prefer stories of conflict and suffering. Stories of unconditional kindness, stories of faith groups joining forces to multiply their impact on communities, stories of young people growing in faith and becoming our faith leaders… these are not winning any Pulitzers or “going viral” on social media. The most popular news outlets are hyper-focused on conflict: shootings, bombings, tweet-spats between celebrities, partisan power struggles in government. These are the struggles which dominate the digital news sphere.
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