Help make Christian matters the main news agenda - Media Training Day
Editor Emma attended this event and here's her 'piece'...
A group of Danish tourists with a mobile phone succeeded in photographing the tsunami wave which hit Koh Phi Phi in Thailand, texting the image to a Danish website and getting it online before the wave even hit the beach in 2004!
Facebook and the internet have changed the face of the news - but not the power of it! With more and more news relying on us to make it, isn't it time Christians started setting the news agenda, asked Bath Chronicle Editor, Sam Holliday at the Bristol Evangelical Alliance Media Training Day on 20th March.
Are you a Christian with a 'burning issue'? Push it up the news agenda
"The number of people who see a newspaper each week is far larger than the number attending church in your city. The British are still the largest percentage of newspaper readers anywhere in the world - 85% of adults read a local newspaper. Newspapers are still unique and Christians need to use them to push their area or the burning issues concerning them, up the council's or society's agenda.
"All to often we as Christians can be afraid to raise our heads above the parapit - but look at the other ideas on atheism for example being expressed in the meda, the more ideas are expressed the more they set the 'news agenda'. We shouldn't fear debate but welcome it, it is a way that people learn about the Christian faith." said Sam.
One of several speakers who gave a rallying cry and practical tips for Christians on making their stories, campaigns and ideas 'the news', he explained that with the changing face of the presentation of the 'news' comes a new accessibility for the contributor. "we're in the era of 'UGC' or 'User Generated Content'! Editors of any news medium are looking to contributors from the general public to provide news!"
Sam asked if you are a Christian with a burning desire to change an issue in your community why not push it up the news agenda?
He challenged fearful attitudes towards 'controversial' books and films such as Dan Brown's 'The Da Vinci Code' and said that this could be viewed as an evangelical tool. "It talks about the crucifiction and points of bible history - its an excellent opportunity for debate."
BBC Radio Bristol's Managing Editor, Tim Pemberton, Communications Officer for Bath and Wells' diocese, the Reverend John Andrews and Bristol Crisis Centre Manager Paul Hazelden gave fascinating talks and workshops.
A Well-Crafted Press Release opens doors!
Tim Pemberton explained the importance of a 'well-crafted' press release or piece of writing as so many messages can be 'lost in translation'.
"The expections of the media to the religious community is that they are professional and offer something which is good. Stories or pieces related to faith don't get a privileged place just because of their content. Items need to deserve the news' space."
Ali Hull, an experienced editor and writer for the Christian press gave the course attendees from Bath, Bristol, churches, and Christian centred campaigns and projects a practical masterclass in writing and submitting a press release.
"The BBC has a remit to inform, entertain and educate and Lord Wreath wanted nation to speak positively to nation and enrich people's lives. There are a host of opportunities for people of faith on BBC Radio."
BBC Radio Bristol has a 60% speech to 40% music ratio of content and features programmes such as Radio Bristol's 'Thought For The Day' - which is a dedicated 'faith' section, 'Sunday Starts' and Radio 4's 'Prayer for the day'. If you want to submit a story/news item to the BBC email
Bath and Wells Diocese Communications Officer, the Reverend John Andrews gave expert guidance on how to cope with unsavoury news items affecting the church or a Christian organisation. With an expansive journalistic career - including being the Editorship of The Western Daily Press, he gave crisis management advice which included honesty and integrity. He offered his experience to anyone finding themselves with a difficult news event.