19 05

WJI 2021, Day 3 AM - Understanding Reality

C.S. Lewis wrote in The Magician’s Nephew that “what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing.” As soon as I walked out the dorm door this morning, I heard birds singing in the trees.

Then, in our first class of the day, we listened to a clip from one of WORLD’s podcasts, The World and Everything In It. In the clip, WORLD correspondent Jenny Rough shared a story about the effects of manmade noise and an acoustic ecologist who wants to preserve the sounds of nature.

Nick Eicher and Paul Butler used that clip to show us some of the differences between print and broadcast journalism. In broadcast journalism, sentences must be shorter and ambience or tone inflection can bring emotion to the story.

In our final class hour before lunch, Dr. Marvin Olasky began teaching us from his book Reforming Journalism. “Understanding journalism starts with understanding every story has a worldview,” Dr. Olasky told us. Every story has a perspective. Telling a story means choosing which perspective to use and which information is important. Most of us tell a story about the three little pigs, not a story from the wolf’s perspective. Jesus chose to tell a story from the Good Samaritan’s perspective, not the perspective of the priest who walked by the injured man on the other side of the street.

In journalism, objectivity is a big topic. But is it even possible? What if two people approach the same topic from two very different perspectives — as if they’re standing in two very different places?

Many journalists try to achieve objective reporting by giving equal time to different subjective reports, hopefully balancing out the differing views. But is this how a Christian should approach news?

Dr. Olasky argues that only God can have a truly objective view of anything. He created reality, so He knows how to view it. Our best hope for achieving objectivity is to get as close to God’s perspective as we can. We won’t be perfect reporters — just like we will never be perfect people — but we should aim to get as close as we can.

Our perspective of the world comes out in every story we tell. C.S. Lewis was right: where we are standing matters.

-Lauren Dunn