24 Apr Why the Media Needs Prayer and How to Pray for Them
Let’s face it, being a journalist has never been a reputable trade in the eyes of many people. You can forget the important role of holding powerful people to account, standing up for the weak and marginalised, and, as my Dad would have said, looking under beds for bones. For many people journalists are simply down there with biblical tax collectors and prostitutes.
Donald Trump really hasn’t helped. Having a world leader who tweets ‘media knowingly doesn’t tell the truth’ changes the narrative. You’d think that no-one in their right mind would believe him, but people do.
And, add to this, tragically, one hundred and fifteen journalists were killed last year, whilst doing their job. Three quarters of those were targeted and killed specifically because they were journalists, according to the organisation, Reporters Without Borders. Whoever killed them wanted them dead to stop them telling people like you and me the stories that they had uncovered.
So, this year, more than ever, journalists need your prayers on the Day of Prayer for the Media.
I’ve been a journalist for about 30 years and very occasionally churches have prayed for me. It’s been such a rare thing that it’s invariably reduced me to tears when it happens.
Curiously, however, in my experience, churches are always appealing to God to ‘raise up young people into the media’. If I had a fiver for every time I’ve heard that said from the front of the church I’d be able to retire next week!
The truth is that we are already here. Journalists are serving your local community at your nearest BBC radio and TV stations and on your local paper.
At a national and international level, we all benefit from the hard work and dedication of reporters, editors and photographers, as well as TV and radio crews.
I’m lucky enough to travel abroad a lot for my work. And that’s shown me just how fortunate we are in the UK to have both a free press and the BBC.
I’ve been to enough countries where the news is filtered, crushed and controlled to know that we are very lucky indeed. Having a free press means that you won’t like everything you read, hear or see.
But you wouldn’t expect that, would you? We all have choices.
One of those choices is to support our media by watching, reading and listening to it, praying about the things that we hear and yes, encouraging journalists too.
So, on May 28, please spare five minutes in your church service to pray for hacks like me. We really would appreciate it and in the new Trump era, we really need it.
Hazel Southam is a journalist, broadcaster and author of My Year With A Horse.