Sunday, October 15, 2006

No News Is ... No News

No news is, simply, no news.

Repeatedly we discuss and lament the fact that so few people know the continuing churches even exist, and that so many of those who do seem to have a wrong (hopefully) impression of us.

So let's get off our backsides and do something about it! Here are some musings from me, which I offer as a discussion starter.

I think it would behoove each of the continuing jurisdictions to have a public affairs/media relations officer, and perhaps worth consideration by the FACA that it have one as well. The job of these individuals, indeed part of their ministry, should be to present the jurisdiction to the public.

I have just done a quick and dirty survey of the four jurisdictions that I link on The Continuum -- the ACC, the ACA, the APA and the APCK. And it's not a pretty sight, or should I say "site"?

The ACC, as best I can tell, has no news site. The last news I could find was of the provincial synod and election of the new metropolitan ... a year ago! The same is true for the ACA, though the TAC does have a newspaper and accompanying web site. There doesn't seem to be a site at the APA, either.

Then there is the winner, as it were -- the APCK. It does have a site. Well done. And there have been a massive number of four items published in the past year!

I said this was quick and dirty. If I have missed something, I apologise. But if I have missed something, then the likelihood is that many other people have as well.

I cannot see what coverage indvidual parishes, or even dioceses, may get in their local press, but there needs to be a strategy there, as well as nationally, and even internationally. This would entail deciding first what you wish to communicate, then who your audience is and how to reach them.

First and foremost, of course, is to communicate the fact that we are here, who we are and what we stand FOR, not only what we stand against. The second should be to demonstrate that we are not isolated pockets, but active nationally and worldwide. Thirdly should be to be a public voice in societal discussions about religion and morality.

As for the audience, I think it goes without saying that the primary target should be individual souls -- the churched, who are wavering, or feeling lost, and looking for a haven, and the unchurched. Secondly should be opinion makers -- people who, in the process of commenting can provide us with what is effectively free advertising.

How to reach them? Presumably you are already doing this on a local level, though undoubtedly there is more you could do. If you don't know who it is that covers religion, or society, or whatever it is in your towns and cities, in both the print and broadcast media, then you should. Find them, introduce yourself and develop a working relationship.

How often do you see local newspaper articles quoting people speaking a load of rubbish, or the reporter missing the point out of ignorance or the pressure of a deadline? Make sure that when a story breaks, you are one of the people called for comment. And when an issue arises that you think worthy of comment, phone your contact. Propose a story. If a letter to the editor needs to be written, write it. If there is call for an op-ed piece, propose it.

In the field of journalism, we have what we call "talking heads" and "rent-a-quotes." You see them all the time on CNN, Fox or BBC.

Journalists work under great pressure to get a story written, and to follow up with reactions. There is nothing more welcome than to know that when a story breaks on your beat, your phone will be ringing before you even have a chance to start thinking about whom to call.

The approach at the national and international level is really no different. What newspapers, magazines and radio/TV outlets in your country make a difference in the national or international dialogue? Identify them, then follow the same process as outlined above.

Remember: No News is Bad News

6 comments:

Alan said...

There is an APA web site at www.anglicanprovince.org with relatively current news.

Warwickensis said...

Quite right, Albion.

It's a sign of our abject disunity. We have been left behind by the Anglican Communion and what remains has not been working to unify itself into a meaningful Conciliary body of Bishops.

We have no organisation that is extravert, and as Christians we need an extravert quality. Christ did not want us to sit navel-gazing.

As Anglo-Catholics we have the Truth to proclaim in spades. Our denomination is robust both theologically and numerically, but it is all over the shop!

News and information can only come through a truly organised and outward looking body. Otherwise the news and information we broadcast just come out simply as hearsay, rumour and conjecture.

I beg all Continuum Bishops to form a Council together despite differences, and just build up some central body to which we can turn for guidance, information and news.

Dear God, may we become one!

D Bunker said...

Excellent points, Albion. One really has to want to find out about these jurisdictions and, even then, things such as services times can often be incorrect. Perhaps this passive web presence represents a fear of the new technology and/or a lack of the necessary resources. The Continuum will never grow in the 21st century unless its "web presence" engages this great forum--the web is the "agora" of today.

It is truly unfortunate that the Continuum is as fractured as it is. Could it be that more news about our various churches might promote dialogue between them and a healing of some of these divisions? We can pray that this happens through God's grace.

Sadly, missionary efforts appear rarer than one could want. My own church is working through the process of establishing a bank account with the mother parish for the local mission--this is a new "problem" it seems as the diocese and the mother parish have never been through this before. It is on this point the Continuum is failing most--the AMiA is reaching out everywhere establishing home churches and missions and ministering to Episcopalians escaping TEC's sinking ship. This is an aggressive, shoe-string effort on their part. They have a significant web presence and they are engaging the press. They are also growing at an astounding rate. Where is our message of orthodoxy?

Ohio Anglican said...

Look at the parish locater map on The Continuing Anglican Churchman blog. There are crosses all over. But from different Continuing Anglican jurisdictions. What a shame!!! If they were all united, Ohio could easily have its own Diocese. As it is the parishes in Ohio are all part of Dioceses that stretch for several states. Very inhospitable for participation in Diocesan activities. If we were united, we could speak with one voice and be a stronger witness to the world.

Rt Revd Prof Barry Peachey said...

It is a mystery to me that whenever the Continuum is discussed, the largest church in the Continuum is never mentioned! The Anglican Independent Communion Worldwide has undergone explosive growth, and has lots of news and information on is excellent website at www.aicuk.org.uk

Abu Daoud said...

Hi Albion,

I agree with you. For those of us living outside of the USA the problem becomes even more difficult, as you probably know.

The impression people get is that if the website is just a dead page then the churches must be just the same. Remnants that someone has not managed to clean up yet.

I bet a lot of the fleeing ECUSA churches would come on with the Continuing churches if there were just an awareness of who they are. The evangelical AMiA is doing this well, and I can't critique them. If you are good at communicating your message about the church and obscure things like episcopal and provincial affiliations, then you can probably also communicate the Gospel.

Peace.