Why Should We Pray for the Media?

When I was growing up, I was under the impression that media professionals were honourable souls who considered it the height of professionalism to be nothing more than the conduit for the day’s news. Newsreaders, as we called them (not anchors or ‘newscasters’), were reassuringly robotic and portrayed only from the midriff up. No chance of high-kicking on Strictly Come Dancing.

Today’s media world is different – now it’s more of an entertainment industry. Journalists, presenters and weathercasters (politically correct enough?) are routinely giving us the intimate ins and outs of their lives on I’m a Celebrity. And that’s before we check them on twitter or raise our eyebrows at facebook revelations or racy Instagram posts.

YouTubers and podcasters are king, you don’t even have to be a professional to have an audience of millions – as long as you’re adept at self-promotion and savvy at building influence.

So…drum roll…

We need to pray for the media and those working in the industry. Arguably we need to pray for ourselves as consumers.

In this era of fast-paced consumption, we need to pray that media professionals refuse to sacrifice accuracy for speed – the need to be first – and to carry the message rather than market it.

Collectively we need to be relentless in the search for truth and objectivity.

We need God in this. He’s bigger than us – the ultimate influencer.

Lord, keep us steady; stop us relentlessly career-building and judging ourselves on followers, likes or the numbers in our networks. Help us see the truth and work for its promotion. Forgive us our human self-absorption. Keep at the forefront of our minds the need to understand and respect those we broadcast to and write for. Set us on a path to promote the common good and to help the poor and vulnerable in society.

Amen.

James Abbott is the Digital Manager for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Our Day of Prayer for the Media is on the 28th May 2017 – find out more about how you and your church can get involved, add your prayers and connect with others over on our Day of Prayer page.

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