Evangelical News and an Alternate Universe

Evangelical news operations have stepped up
recently. They are offering people interpretation for a worldview in uncertain
times.

We don?t just
tell them what
the news is…We
tell them what
it means. And
that?s appealing
to people, especially
in moments of
cultural instability.
–Frank Wright
National Religious Broadcasters

Evangelical news operations offer more than the news, according to an article in Columbia Journalism Review. They offer an alternate view of the universe.

This is not a new idea. Many creators of content for evangelical audiences are intentional in presenting a point of view consistent with evangelical faith. They view their work as an alternative to the mainstream culture. And the market for it has been growing.

The marketing strategy is clear. News is a way to broaden the audience. It reaches out to a wider audience than currently watches religious television, or listens to religious radio. Audiences have leveled off in the past several months, but the public attention given to the Schiavo case, Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, and the judicial filibuster provide a forum for commentary and outreach.

Consider this: there are 2000 religious radio stations, 3 direct broadcast satellite systems and 1700 members of the National Religious Broadcasters. They have demonstrated that they are a force to be reckoned with.

In her comprehensive article, Stations of the Cross, Mariah Blake provides helpful detail that not only explains the structure of evangelical religious broadcasting, she also surveys its influence on the mainstream culture. She presents one of the most accurate and dispassionate assessments of the use of media by the religious right that’s been written recently.

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