What Constitutes Press News

Our gospel commission embraces the use of the public press, which daily reaches mil­lions who perhaps could never be reached with a Seventh-day Adventist publication.

BY W. L. BURGAN

Our gospel commission embraces the use of the public press, which daily reaches mil­lions who perhaps could never be reached with a Seventh-day Adventist publication. There are 2,145 daily newspapers published in the United States and its Territories, and in Canada. These have an aggregate daily circulation of 44,448,325, and the 525 Sunday newspapers published in this territory have an aggregate circulation of 28,260,000. In addition to these, there are 19,151 other publications appearing semiweekly, triweekly, weekly, and otherwise. If we as Seventh-day Adventist workers would utilize these for the publicizing and proclama­tion of the advent message, progress almost beyond our comprehension would result.

Surely God wants us to make every use pos­sible of these agencies, and to regard them as instrumentalities He has placed here to help His followers complete the task laid upon them. The Seventh-day Adventist denomination is prolific in news possibilities. Ours is the only organization on this earth that has under­taken the gigantic task of reaching practically 2,000,000,000 human beings with the definite, soul-stirring Bible message of Revelation 14 that involves the eternal destiny of mankind. Hence, the possibilities of producing news of eternal interest to the millions upon millions of newspaper readers are constantly increasing.

Now, just what may be considered news in the Adventist ranks? The most startling news that human lips can proclaim, and pens or typewriters can put into copy, is the fact that Jesus Christ is coming soon with power and great glory to call unnumbered millions from their graves with resurrection power, to trans­late the living saints without seeing death, and to destroy the material works of man in an outburst of divine splendor and terribleness that human minds could never portray, were any of the wicked left to tell the story. This news, prepared by men and women in attrac­tive, sincere style, would command space on the front page of many newspapers; and would make it a topic of intense interest around mil­lions of breakfast tables, were it to be written impressively enough to convince both editors and readers that the end of all things earthly is indeed approaching.

Every sermon that is preached in an Advent­ist church, or by an Adventist minister wher­ever he preaches has news in it. The serious thoughts that he sends deep into the minds of his hearers would also sink deep into the minds of multitudes of readers were they to be placed on paper. Reports of sermons preached on the signs of the times, as seen in the sun, moon, and stars, the distress among nations, the ca­lamities on land and sea by earthquakes, tidal waves, cyclones, and devastating fires, wars, rumors of wars, peace and disarmament con­ferences,—all supply a basis for news as inter­preted in the light of Biblical prophecy. And we Adventists are the only ones as a church organization who know the true and full Bibli­cal significance of these rapidly occurring events. What an exalted privilege and pleas­ure it should be to explain these things through the one agency that reaches every class of society!

Other sermons that offer just as attractive a basis for news items include those on the mil­lennium—when the earth will be desolate for one thousand years, with the devil chained while the saints are in heaven passing judg­ment on the wicked; the capital and labor sit­uation in fulfillment of James 5; calendar re­form agitations; the activities of the Sunday blue law advocates, which offer us opportunity to exalt the true Sabbath and expose the false claims of Sunday sacredness; the payment of an honest tithe for the support of the ministry, instead of holding strawberry festivals, oyster suppers, lotteries, and the like in the church, which God designates as the house of prayer; and missionary experiences told either by mis­sionaries themselves or by some leader in the homeland.

Some one in every local church should be the designated news reporter for that church. He should secure ahead of time from the pas­tor or local elder, or whoever may be responsi­ble for planning the services, the program that is to be followed on the Sabbath. And if other meetings are to be held during the week, the program for these should also be secured and announcements submitted to the newspapers. Practically every newspaper in this country devotes space at least one day of the week to church news, and our Seventh-day Adventist programs should be included. And where newspapers devote a page, or a portion of a page, to reports of sermons in their Monday issue, Seventh-day Adventists should have reports of sermons among the others.

When churches have visiting ministers or missionaries on furlough, reports of their com­ing should be given to the papers, and also re­ports of what they present. Special programs should always be reported in the papers. Local elders' conventions, Sabbath school conventions, home missionary conventions, young people's weekly meetings and conventions, colporteur conventions,--all offer news possibilities. When physicians or nurses give talks and demonstra­tions on health topics, the program should be reported. The reporters should very tactfully include in all announcements, where possible, something of the world-wide extent of our de­nominational work, and some of our funda­mental beliefs, even if it may be but a short paragraph or even a sentence in each announce meat. We should ever be on the alert to plant a seed of truth in the minds of all who may read.

Every tent effort should be advertised in the public press, and reports submitted on every sermon preached. The tent season offers an unusual opportunity to spread the name and fame of the denomination, and to proclaim the doctrines that concern the eternal destiny of all mankind. Evangelists should make it a part of their regular program to supply infor­mation on their sermons to the newspapers, and also announcements of the subjects of their discourses. When visiting ministers, physi­cians, or nurses take part, these also should be advertised.

Our medical work, which God says is the right arm of the message, offers excellent opportunities to secure favorable publicity. Every sanitarium should have its own reporter, gathering news that would bring the name of the institution into the public print. Every col­lege and academy should also have its own press representatives. The journalism classes would do well to appoint members to supply newspapers with reports of chapel exercises, Sabbath services, and also of evangelistic meet­ings in which ministerial students take part.

Our Harvest Ingathering campaigns offer news possibilities everywhere throughout the continent when our world-wide foreign mission­ary activities should be made known through the press. The camp meeting season is rich with news possibilities. Quite a number of our local camp meetings are advertised in the press with good results; but there is not a camp meeting held anywhere that is without news value. Column after column may be written about these blessed seasons, which would not only attract interested persons to the meetings, but would also plant deep in the minds of many readers some of the wonderful truths which God has given us to proclaim to the vast world at large. Every meeting held on a camp ground has news in it, and when only a brief paragraph is written about each of the various sessions, they altogether make an interesting write-up.

Our workers, however, should endeavor to have printed as much of the message as possi­ble, in order to give the readers as comprehen­sive an idea as one can give in a newspaper report concerning the advent message and our constantly growing world-wide activities. Let us place our work in the forefront as far as the newspapers will permit, and thus help to hasten the message to its consummation.

Washington, D. C.


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BY W. L. BURGAN

November 1934

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