What we stand for

Pass the salt and hold the sourcery

Issue: "The Sudan crisis," June 10, 2000

Publications at various times feel a solemn duty to explain their principles. Since WORLD stands for journalism, not essays-for showing, not telling-we believe that the best way to see what we stand for is to read WORLD for a few months. But for those seeking a solemn shorthand introduction, here goes.

We try to be salt, not sugar. We don't like sticky-sweet stories. We stand for dry humor and wet handkerchiefs. We want our readers to weep over injustice and everyday cussedness and children starving in the Sudan, as this week's cover story grimly shows. We want to be tough-minded but warmhearted.

We try to serve our readers. We try to avoid entangling alliances with ministries or political factions. We don't let advertisers influence news content. We don't print glorified press releases. We try to avoid sourcery, where unnamed sources spin the news their way. If we use an unnamed source, we explain why we're doing that.

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Our advertising pages are like a bulletin board, and we don't necessarily commend what's there. On our news pages, though, we print only stories we believe to be true. The Mailbag pages belong to readers. When we goof we print corrections or let our readers take us to the woodshed, and we don't talk back. We print pro and con letters in about the ratio we receive them. We read all the letters sent to us.

We search for photos (as in our Sudan story) that startle or sparkle, and not merely half-hearted ones that take the place of 500 words. We look for provocative and evocative news stories that are the result of pavement-pounding rather than thumb-sucking. We push for crisp headlines that snap, crackle, and pop! We often fall short but we always try. We like family feuds over who gets to read WORLD first.

We want our readers to enjoy the world God has made, full as it is of nooks and crannies and weirdness. We stand for factual accuracy and biblical objectivity, trying to see the world as best we can the way the Bible depicts it. We like sex, within marriage. We're not amoral hedonists, but we're not stoic moralists either. We like the vines and fig trees God gives us. We particularly like ice cream.

We're a sports magazine, showing how people play the game in front of a great cloud of witnesses from the past and an angelic host. We stand for baseball in its timelessness and hockey in its blazing speed. In outdoor ballparks (and they should be outdoors) we prefer grass to artificial turf. We honor the tradition of smoke-filled rooms as venues for political sports.

We think that all reporting is directed reporting, with a point of view either clear or covert. There are no neutral facts. We tell anyone who asks that we hope to be biblically directed. We distinguish between issues on which the Bible is clear and those on which it isn't. We distinguish between journalism and propaganda: Journalism is about truth-telling, even when it hurts, while propaganda involves a willingness to lie whenever that will supposedly help. Our goal is to tell the truth, and we want others to do so also.

We believe that the heavens declare the glory of God but the streets proclaim the sinfulness of man. We don't grasp God's full glory in condescending to save us unless we understand how sinful those streets are. We thank God for His tender mercies, although not as often as we should. As we work our fingers to the bone we don't think the only result is bony fingers.

We stand for plain language and lots of action. We prefer sensational facts and understated prose. We try to seek out and destroy the passive voice and substitute for it the active voice. Since writers often use which when the correct word is that, we go which-hunting. We form the possessive singular of nouns by adding 's. We enclose parenthetic expressions between commas.

We want WORLD to be read by people from many beliefs or no clear belief. If we fulfill the first part of our mission statement-"To report and analyze the news on a weekly schedule in an interesting, accurate, and arresting fashion"-many people will find WORLD as useful to read as Time or Newsweek. Some readers will disagree with our perspective, but they'll want to see what we say.

We hope to show that a biblical perspective leads to greater discernment than the secular liberalism of a Time or Newsweek. If we fulfill in quality fashion the second part of our mission statement-"To combine reporting with practical commentary on current events and issues from a perspective committed to the Bible as the inerrant Word of God"-we are on our way to accomplishing that.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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