Practicing Biblical journalism and caring

Emmanuel Udom reports on the proceedings of the April 2021 fellowship

To a trained journalist, bad news is good news. Therefore, journalists, who know the nitty-gritty of the journalism profession, have the nose to sniff out cover stories, exclusive reports and out-standing human interest stories that could excite their editors.

Some people out there in developed and developing countries think journalists are hell-bound or creators from hell. But, hell or no hell, there are billions of people across the globe that cannot do without the media, one way or the other.

Are journalists creators from hell, or are there born-again Christians who are practising the journalism profession, using the Bible as their guide and anchor, in various newsrooms across the world?

Journalists for Christ, (JFC), a Lagos-based faith-based media group, made up of Christian journalists from the print, electronic and online platforms, gathered for a fellowship on Saturday, April 17 with   “Biblical Journalism” as the theme of the meeting.

In his welcome remarks, Mr Lekan Otufodunrin, President of the organisation urged journalists from various religious backgrounds in our newsrooms should strive to stand out from among the crowd in their reports, comportments and interactions with their colleagues.

His words: “Christian journalists should stay close to God, be inspired by reading their Bible, always be guided by God while reporting, report only the truth based on verifiable facts and should not expose their sources, no matter the situation”

Speaking on the sub-theme: “Caring for the Care Giver”, Miss Olayinka Moka, of the Bible Society of Nigeria, while interacting with the participants said a caregiver is someone that provides care to people.

Based on her definition, some of the participants mentioned: nurses, doctors, parents, teachers, journalists, etc, as caregivers and at the end of the interactions, it was unanimously agreed that everyone is a caregiver, one way or the other.

At this point, the facilitator asked the participants to break into two groups, where crucial questions were asked for discussions.

Before the discussion, she read a story about one Pastor Bamba, who travelled out with his family members a year ago and returned to listen to tales of woes from his people. 

The storyline showed that the pastor was rich, emotional, caring, loved and respected by his people. A superhero or pastor-know-all, you may say.

 However, he felt guilty and developed some health complications, the group discussions revealed. The pastor became a workaholic, lost the appetite for food, lost interest in his pastoral duties, lost weight and energy,  and was not sleeping well in the night, (insomnia). 

Secondary trauma or transferred aggression seems to have caught up with the emotional pastor, who was behaving as a superman and trying to solve the problems of every Tom, Dick and Harry that comes his way.

The next question for the group was: How Do Care-Givers feel while solving the problems of other people?

Again, the groups went into another brainstorming session and it was agreed that people who are always caring for others, do most times feel snappy, could lose focus, feel pressurized, could feel down, deteriorate in health and their careers and relationships could also be affected negatively due to secondary trauma or transferred aggression.

Why Is It Difficult to Be a Caregiver?  Initially appeared nutty to crack. But, in the end, the two groups came out with the economy, limitations, lack of finance, lack of appreciation, paying good deeds with evil deeds, trust, etc as some of the reasons. Facilitator Moka also added ego, feelings of the people as other reasons.

 From the Biblical books of Galatians 6: 2, Exodus 18: 13-23, the question: “How Can CareGivers Take Care of Themselves” was deliberated. Those who labour to care for others should also take time out to exercise, stay with their families, get health and other insurance policies, switch off their phones and computers, go on vacations,   eat more, laugh more, read the Bible, play with their children, friends and relatives.

For journalists as caregivers, they should go under tutelage, find mentors, delegate some of their duties to other journalists in their newsrooms and walk around to catch fun.

INTROSPECTION EXERCISE  

The facilitator asked the participants to close their eyes, imagine they were trees with roots, branches, leaves, etc, under the elements-sun, rain, thunder, cloud.

 She assured the participants that, though as a tree, the storms of life may seem to knock them out, they will still remain strong. She asked the participants what type of tress they want to be?

DONATION

The Bible Society of Nigeria donated 500 copies of the Book of ROMANS: 4 steps to salvation to JFC for distribution to journalists and other members of the public.

Vice President, Mrs Ugonma Cokey and President receiving the donated books from the speaker

TESTIMONIES

Mr Lekan Otufodunrin, President expressed his gratitude and that of his family to God for saving his son from robbers who snatched his phone and injured him while waiting to catch up a bus to attend a Sunday service recently.

Rev David Alabi, Chaplain also said God showed in words and deeds that He was a true God when he answered the request he presented to him, without telling a soul.

Mr Victor Emerua, Abuja-based media consultant, equally thank God for standing by him when his pastor friend based in Kaduna was kidnapped and a N50 million ransom demanded by his abductors. Emeruwa said he had to fly into Lagos to sort out family issues and attend the Journalists for Christ fellowship.

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