Media & Journalism
Knowledge is power. Information is beautiful. Data is king.
How are we to understand communication in the modern world?
Our faith has a very special resonance in the field of media & journalism, for at its heart is a profound theology of communication: 'In the beginning was the Word'. Before there was anything else, a conversation was already taking place in the very heart of our Three-in-One God. And, according to the Bible, that communicative relationship of love has bubbled over into creation: God speaks & worlds come into being; a word is spoken, a response is called for, an invitation extended. Communion, relationship, and community are fundamental to a biblical understanding of communication. How do these amazing theological truths affect our practice as media professionals?
The world of communication is shifting fast and the terrain is dynamic. We are introducing a new 'Media and Journalism' Professional Group, led by Iwan Russell-Jones of Regent College, Vancouver, Canada. Iwan has over 25 years of experience as a producer and director for the BBC in the UK, in both television and radio. He now teaches and lectures on media, from the earliest human communications to the modern day.
This group will meet six times over three years. We will consider questions as far reaching as: 'how does the new attention culture reshape human communication?', 'what are we to make of the enormous rise of social media?', 'what is the place of the "citizen journalist" in contemporary events?', and the like.
Across six meetings, in three years, we will consider three main themes on media & journalism:
1. The imagination as central to authentic communication – we will take time to understand the centrality of the imagination in all human endeavours. Capturing the imagination through good storytelling is fundamental. The Bible also demonstrates, in numerous places, how the imagination is also key to truth-telling and social change. What can we as journalists, media professionals, and artists of all kinds learn from leading thinkers, such as Walter Brueggemann. What is a “prophetic imagination”? How do we engage with the media of the world? How can we bring a Christian imagination powerfully to bear on our work?
2. Understanding the history & development of human communication – with a broad-brush overview, we will take time to consider the massive communications revolution that is taking place all around us. How can we get a sense of where it is heading, and how it is affecting us? By looking at previous media revolutions – from orality to writing, then to print, then to the telegraph, photography, electronic and digital media – we will explore the ways in which our technologies shape our culture. Communication is a deep part of our humanity. Our technologies also always shape us profoundly. Christian thinking on this formation is of great importance, not just for journalists and media professionals but for all consumers of media, too.
3. A theology of media – Christian theology is concerned with every aspect of life, and will be intertwined with our whole course. Our faith matters in every context and has the power to shape us and change the world. But in this, our own field of media and journalism, is has very special significance. The God we worship is, above all, a communicating God, who is Himself, the very model of human communication. What does it mean for journalists and media professionals to confess that ‘the Word was made flesh’?
Iwan Russell-Jones is the Eugene and Jan Peterson Associate Professor of Theology and the Arts at Regent College, Vancouver, in Canada. He has 25 years of experience as both a producer for TV and radio, and director, working for the BBC in the UK.
Read his biography: www.regent-college.edu/faculty/full-time/iwan-russell-jones
Meeting 1: 6-9 June 2019 in Brussels at the Maison N.D. du Chant d-Oiseau. The cost of the weekend will be €135, including meals and accommodation.
Meeting 2: 21-24 November 2019
Meeting 3: 14-17 May 2020
Both meetings 2 and 3 will take place at EC Begegnungs-und Bildungszentrum in Woltersdorf (near Berlin), Germany.