NEW YORK -- On Thursday, March 13, 2014, The New York Times Deputy Metropolitan Editor, Michael Luo, spoke at The King’s College about faith and work, in a lecture entitled, “Articles of Faith: A Believer's Journey Through The New York Times.”
Luo spoke about his career in journalism, covering the war in Iraq, presidential campaigns and reporting award-winning investigative series. He also spoke about the challenges he faced as a journalist who also happens to be a Christian.
Interestingly, Luo said the most resistance he ever faced was actually from fellow believers, at a Values Voters Summit in 2008. Conservative Christians at the event were initially hostile to the presence of The New York Times in their ranks. Luo said many conservatives perceive the Times as “dominated by secular elites who are hostile to faith.” He hopes to help clear up this misconception, and show that there is indeed intellectual diversity and a Christian presence at the Times.
“The Times is like a lot of other elite cultural institutions filled with cosmopolitan urban types, highly educated people who went to top colleges whose cultural sensibilities are probably more shaped by the Upper West Side and Park Slope, Brooklyn than, you know, the Bible Belt,” Luo explained. “So it’s certainly not the easiest place to say you’re a Christian.”
Luo lamented the way that stereotypes often make their way into journalism. He said some reporters lump people into groups, and because some reporters are not well-versed enough in religion, some people of faith are misrepresented in the media.
For this reason, Luo stressed that journalism needs Christians, evangelicals and mainline Protestants, Catholics and the Christian Left. But not just Christians, he stressed that people of every creed and culture are needed to create a journalism that is able to speak intelligently, to the world, about the world.
This lecture was the Phillips Journalism Institute’s inaugural event, and the audience included journalism students and faculty from King’s and other colleges including Lee University, Patrick Henry College, Liberty University, Bethel University and others, as well as staff from several press organizations including Forbes, The Blaze, The New York Daily News and World Magazine. The Phillips Institute plans to host an annual lecture by a journalist who represents the spirit of John McCandlish Phillips. It will be hosted at The King’s College campus in New York City's Financial District.
After the lecture, a small group of students and journalists were able to meet with Luo. They discussed the role of faith and Christian morals in reporting, as well as the plans for the Phillips Institute moving forward. If this inaugural event is any indicator, the Institute, with Kings’ Associate Professor Paul Glader at the helm, will be hosting lectures that will be incredibly useful to student and professional journalists, equipping them with the tools needed to live as believers in the increasingly secular world of the media.
Here is coverage of the event by:
Syndicated columnist Terry Mattingly's On Religion column in The Knoxville News Sentinnel (and other papers): Christian Journalist Hopes To Be A Resource at The New York Times.
A 26-minute YouTube video of Luo's speech: Michael Luo: A Believer's Journey Through the New York Times
Here is an earlier interview Glader conducted with Luo for Christianity Today: