Wick Communications

Five on Faith

In Reporting on 16 Jul 2015 at 1:01 pm

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Want to see what good, interesting, non-judgmental, inclusive, local religion coverage looks like? Stroll on over to willistonherald.com.

Last week, the newspaper and website initiated what Editor Mike Hickman hopes will be a long series of Q&As with religious leaders. He’s calling it “Five on Faith.”

“We are reaching the long-time residents, but we’re having a hard time reaching the new people in town and one way we thought we might get to them is through their faith,” Hickman told me. “There are a ton of churches here. We have four Christian radio stations. Religion is as big as oil here.”

That is reason enough. Thousands of people go to church in Williston every Sunday. Why would you ignore that? Unfortunately, usually local newspapers do a really crummy job covering religion. Too often it is simply a column by a fire-breathing preacher that is as often as not stolen from the Internet and as apt to turn people away as attract them to your newspaper. The trick is do make the coverage unique and interesting. …

As you can see, Matt is asking local religious leaders open-ended questions that are not “Tell us why folks who believe differently are going to hell?” Instead the questions are thoughtful. “How did you come to Williston?” “What are the goals of your church?” “How does your church affect the community?”

Matt says he sent out an email blast asking pastors to contribute. In addition, he’s advertised the feature on Twitter and other social media. He says he’ll pester the pastors until the thing takes on a life of its own – and it will, because folks will want their own leaders in there.

All of us could do this.




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