Trustworthy Storytellers

As it turns out, storytime never grows old.  Closing the book to finish a child’s day opens a lifelong appetite for more.  Tales are timeless.  And so is our craving to hear one, see one, and live one.  Society is starved for packaged episodes with heroes and villains, rising tension, hurdles to jump and rewarded outcomes.  Programming, newscasts, online media, and newspapers are filled with them.  While fiction is viewed from a convenient distance, participant media (Twitter, blogs, reality TV) closes the margin, now thrusting anyone to become the story. The stage grows crowded.  So the race to reach the largest audience relies more on hype than journalism, style than substance.

A story told is only as credible as the storyteller.  But a polished image can be misleading.  AS a profession, broadcast TV is an alluring siren that draws the insecure.  Those rare on-air positions can be perceived as a sure thing for recognition, worth, and control.  More often than not, it nurtures a short cut for vanity, superficiality, and disillusionment.  Disciples of Jesus who walk with integrity can bring a very sharp contrast to the industry.  The professionalism demonstrated through character should be striking! Compassion, humility, authenticity, and excellence can embed a journalist favorably with both the viewing community and newsmakers they cover.

And who can best side-step the trappings of a media storyteller?  One who walks with the author and finisher of our faith, capable of a principled perspective and mission when assignment coverage turns hideous and despairing!  The larger than life residue from sensationalized reporting and media hype needs a posed sentinel whose spiritual self-esteem long surpasses a shallow glossed identity.

Thousands of years ago, Daniel (12:4 NLT) saw today’s eruption of information, prophesying “seal up the book until the end of the time when many will rush here and there and knowledge will increase.”  As information explodes exponentially, global media coverage will thrive. meeting the demand for immediacy.  Like the Old Testament prophet and lion den survivor, our 21st century society begs for trustworthy messengers, called and trained as professional storytellers, to steward both their positioning and window of influence with excellence.

**Tom Buehring has spent more than two decades as an interviewer, anchor, and reporter in Seattle, Tampa, and Nashville.  He also founded and developed an award-winning, accredited training program at the University of North Dakota.

Reflection Points

1.     Who do you know that is serving in some form of media?  Spend some time praying for them today.  Consider writing them an encouraging note.

2.     Who do you know that is considering going into the domain of Media as an occupation?  How can you encourage and strengthen them today?