As an independent, faith-based news organization, BNG is known and evaluated by the news and opinion content we publish daily at baptistnews.com. Like people, we are known not only by what we say and do but also by what we do not say and do. Below is a list of some things you will not find on our website:
No. 1: Articles you can read elsewhere
We do not republish news and opinion articles from other media sources. With rare exceptions, we also do not publish verbatim or adapted blog posts.
We are committed to providing timely, relevant and original news and opinion content for people of faith. (BNG articles are also copyrighted.) All our reporting is done by our two staff journalists or, on occasion, contracted freelancers.
Outstanding journalism is a product; but it is a product of a rigorous planning and editing process. For both news and opinion, this means more planning; more vetting of ideas, topics, sources, unsolicited commentary submissions, and the opinion writers and freelance journalists we use; more news gathering and research; and more diligent proofreading and editing.
We do curate several news stories each day from the broader world of religion (outside Baptist life) as part of our ecumenical and interfaith commitment. These curated items point readers to relevant news from a variety of trusted news outlets and publications. Each item includes a link to the original story, but we do not republish all or part of the article.
No. 2: Resources for Christians and churches
This is a tricky one, but this nuance is important. Most assuredly, BNG wants to be a reliable, indispensable information resource for persons of faith and communities of faith. This is our objective for every news and opinion article we publish, because we believe informed Christians are better prepared to be God’s agents in the world.
Likewise, our extensive online archives, with tens of thousands of news and opinion articles, are an invaluable resource for pastors and other ministers, theology school faculty and students, Bible study teachers, historians, librarians and others.
We applaud denominational and other nonprofit ministries, publishers and websites that provide a variety of high-quality resources and services for churches and congregational leaders. But BNG’s mission, our raison d’etre as a free religious press, is to interpret Christianity and culture through compelling, independent, faith-based journalism.
To do our job well and to keep faith with our values of fair-mindedness, integrity and objectivity also means that we maintain a professional arm’s length from the sources and subjects for our reporting and from the writers of our opinion content.
No. 3: Editorials
BNG is a provider of faith-related news and opinion, but we do not take editorial positions. BNG does not publish editorials expressing “our view” or the view of an editorial board. Our opinion content is comparable in many ways to the op-ed section – but not the editorials – of a secular newspaper or religious publication. We publish hundreds of opinion articles each year; but unlike an editorial board we do not editorialize or take a position on a topic.
There is no “BNG opinion.” There are many opinions and perspectives published by BNG in alignment with our mission, but each article represents solely the viewpoint of the writer, not BNG, its board or its staff.
No. 4: Sermons
BNG is a nonprofit news organization. We love good preaching, and some sermons are good to read as well as to hear. But a sermon is a distinctive form of oral communication, typically created for, and delivered to, a particular community of worshippers. This distinction between gospel proclamation and faith-based news and opinion also applies to visual media on our site, including video, photography and other media.
There are many helpful websites that collect, curate and publish sermon manuscripts or video recordings. At baptistnews.com, we do not as a rule publish sermons, excerpted sermons or adapted sermons.
No. 5: Footnotes
As a rule, we do not publish academic or professional papers. Good journalism requires doing our homework, reading and researching, verifying information and double-checking facts. We frequently explore theological, sociological, historical topics that are also found in academia, but we do so as reporters and editors, not as experts in a particular field or discipline.
Proper attribution and credit are essential in our news reporting and opinion writing, and we often include hyperlinks to cited works, related articles and helpful background material. We publish “long form” content, including in-depth and interpretive reporting, news analyses and storytelling journalism as well as essays and first-person reflections.
But our content about matters of faith, created for and by people of faith, is produced for a popular audience.
No. 6: Permeable or unclear boundaries between news and opinion
Every article we publish is clearly demarcated as news or opinion. We do not conflate the two. Similarly, all sponsored or promoted content and other advertising are clearly labeled and distinct from BNG’s news and opinion articles. We also welcome letters to the editor in response to articles we have published.
No. 7: Paywalls and subscription fees
Now in our 30th year as a free-standing, faith-based news organization, we remain committed to providing online news and opinion content to readers worldwide free of charge, without paywalls or annual subscription fees. (Some links within articles to external sources and some of our curated news items do link to publications or media outlets with paywalls, but we try to keep these to a minimum.)
BNG is reader-supported. We rely on contributions for more than 90 percent of our operating budget. Funding from denominational entities accounts for about 5 percent of our annual income.
Interested in what we do publish each day at baptistnews.com?
Add baptistnews.com to your regular social media engagement (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more). Or sign up for one or more of our email lists: “The Daily,” distributed every business day, includes headlines and links to the latest news and opinion articles; “Trending” keeps you up to date on the week’s most-read articles; and “Week in Quotes” includes five or six interesting quotes from the week’s news and opinion.
– David Wilkinson has been BNG’s chief executive officer since 2008.