If someone told you that WORLD is written, edited, illustrated, laid out, and transmitted to our printer by only nine full-time people plus part-timers who make up the equivalent of four more, would you think he's playing an April Fool's joke on you?
Maybe not, but when I see the staff listings of Time or Newsweek with their casts of thousands, I'm driven to the last but not least of the Ten Commandments, as well as to passages in Psalms that instruct us not to covet our neighbor's editorial army.
The good news is that WORLD's editorial core has been solidly together for many years now. The bad news for us (but good news for God's kingdom) is that Bob Jones, who's been writing thoughtful and elegant news stories and features on these pages for the past decade, is leaving regular work on the magazine to pursue book-writing.
That's a desire I well understand, and Bob's writing-which you'll still see in occasional features-is so good that I plan to break a rule we've had for the past decade: that we don't within these pages promote books written by present or past WORLD staff members. You'll learn about Bob's books here.
(We've had that rule because our goal is to publicize God's truth, not ourselves. For the same reason we don't run photos of our writers next to bylines.)
You'll also learn about new reporters, because last July my living room in Austin was the scene for daily writing classes for WORLD interns, and two of them, Mark Bergin and Jamie Dean, are now partly filling Bob's shoes. Another, Kristin Chapman, is a part-time copy editor, and more are likely to emerge from a new group this July.
We've also added a weekly spotlight piece from Hugh Hewitt, who is host of a national radio show and probably the leading Christian blogger in the world; he also teaches at Chapman University Law School.
Young and old, we share a theology and a philosophy. We are citizens of both God's Israel and man's America. Our goal is to stand for Christ in this modern Babylon. Our particular models are Daniel, Esther, Paul, and others who boldly and courageously stood for eternal truth within societies fixated on the here-and-now. They understood the cultures surrounding them and knew when to battle within the rules and when it was essential to push back the boundaries.
Our goal at WORLD is to be biblically directed, as our heroes were. Journalistic humility for us means trying to give God's perspective as best we-in our sinful and fallen way-can discern it from the Bible. We report bad news but also want our readers to enjoy the world God has made, full as it is of nooks and crannies and weirdness. We like marriage, and we rejoice with David Freeland and Tim Lamer, both married within the past year; they were the last singles in our current core.
Journalistically (as I wrote five years ago, and am noting now for the benefit of our many new readers), we try to be salt, not sugar. We try to avoid sticky-sweet, happy-talk stories. We stand for dry humor and wet handkerchiefs. We want our readers to weep over injustice and everyday cussedness. We want to be tough-minded but warmhearted. We push for factual accuracy and print corrections when we fail.
We try to serve our readers. 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.) 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.
We look for provocative and evocative news stories that are the result of pavement-pounding rather than thumb-sucking. We push for headlines that snap, crackle, and pop! But we know that a magazine is not merely words, so we also search for photos that startle or sparkle, not merely half-hearted ones that take the place of 500 words. We often fall short but we always try.
As we work our fingers to the bone we don't think the only result is bony fingers. That's because we trust God and also relish readers who tell us about family feuds over who gets to read a new issue first. Our thanks to Him and to all of you.