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The Journalists Association “Novomedia” 

"The transformation of media returns the transformation of nation"


The Novomedia Association is the all-Ukrainian non-governmental journalistic organization. It was founded in 2004 on the initiative of journalist Ruslan Kukharchuk. The Association unites Christian journalists and other creative stuff of different media in two common ways: spiritual unity and professional interests.

For today, Novomedia  Association  includes about 200 members from secular and Christian media and has representatives in the majority of regions of Ukraine. There are also members of the community in Russian Federation, USA and Canada.

Marvin Olasky, editor-in-chief of WORLD Magazine: “In the story about a murder it’s not necessary to give equal time to the murderer and the victim”


Marvin Olasky is editor-in-chief of WORLD Magazine, the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion, and Distinguished Chair in Journalism and Public Policy at Patrick Henry College. WORLD Magazine is a biweekly Christian news magazine, published in the United States of America by God's World Publications, a non-profit organization based in Asheville, North Carolina. WORLD differs from most other news magazines in that its declared perspective is one of conservative evangelical Protestantism. Its mission statement is "To report, interpret, and illustrate the news in a timely, accurate, enjoyable, and arresting fashion from a perspective committed to the Bible as the inerrant Word of God." Circulation – 100 000 copies.

Marvin and his wife Susan participated in the European Journalist’s Conference, in Kiev on September 27-29, 2012. So we had wonderful opportunity to have interesting conversation. 

Your grandfather is from Ukraine, right?


What do you know about him? 

I know that he was a very brave person because he left Ukraine hundred years ago, and made his way across Europe eventually to England.

Why did he leave? 

He left, I think because of oppression of Jewish. 

Is he a Jew? 

Marvin: Yes. There was oppression when they killed Jewish. It was before First World War. I’ve heard, I don’t know that for sure, that he was in the Russian Army, against his desire. The situation for Jews was very bad in Russia and Ukraine. Many millions was leaving and going to America. 

What was his name, do you know? 

I believe his name was Olavsky, from the village of Olevsk. His first name was Lewis (Leo). He moved to America when he was around 20 years old.  And my grandmother (who married him in America) came from village of Korets, which is also Ukraine. And earlier this week (September, 2012) we went to those villages, to visit it. We saw the Jewish cemetery and much more evidence of that hard time. So I’m glad my grandfather left, because there was the War and starvation in 1932-1933 when Nazi came and destroyed everything, etc. 

Thanks! So – further we will talk on media subjects. How long have you been editing in the World magazine?

I have been editing it now for 20 years. 

As a Chief editor?

I’m a Chief editor for 18 years. So it’s a slow process. 

Marvin, of the main topics for The Novomedia Association is to spread Christian values among secular media. And as I understood, World magazine has the same purpose – to cover general topics, politics, economics, social topics based on Christian values?  

Yes, we believe in Biblical objectivity, which means that God knows the real nature of the world, that He created it and sustained it. And our task is to try and report what is going on in the world through that Biblical perspective. That’s what’s true, that’s what’s honest, that’s what’s factual, and that’s what’s subjective. Other various ideologies interpret the world in their way. All journalism is directed in some way by world views and we try to bring the world view of the Bible.

How do you do that? Do your journalists quote Bible verses or you invite preachers as columnists? 

Sometimes just quoting the Bible verse does not necessarily mean that the writer of the article thought through things biblically. Just sometimes we talk about almost, “here a verse, there a verse, pick a verse and stick it in.” That is usually not adequate by itself. I’ll give you analogy, in North Carolina there are a lot of rivers with white water and there are six classes of white water rapids. Class one is gently down the stream and each class is harder and harder, they are more difficult to kayak through, until class six is essentially going over waterfall. If you tried to do it, you’re dead most of the time. So some stories are like class one rapids, they’re easy to navigate because the Bible is very clear. For example the Bible is very clear that marriage is a very good thing, marriage between a man and a woman is very good. The Bible is very clear that we should not murder. So a story that is about a crime, let’s say murder, we don’t think that it’s necessary to give equal time to the murderer and his justification and the victim. Or if there’s a story about the cure for cancer or attempted something that will help people with cancer. We don’t think it’s necessary to give equal time to people who are trying to stop cancer and the cancer itself. We have certain set of values in that way. So the Bible is very clear on some things, and those we can say to be class one rapids. So in world we are against murder, against abortion, we are for marriage. The way to do it, is perhaps different than a way a preacher would do it. 

So what is the way? 

We tell stories. We think in terms of stories with a protagonist, a major figure and antagonist a mission of the protagonist, and the obstacles he faces. So for example, when we are writing a story about an issue involving abortion we might write the story from a perspective of a person working in a pro-life clinic, who helps women to understand that they have alternatives to abortion, that they should not kill their child. So when we write the story in that way, from that perspective we will talk about her mission, we will describe the obstacle she faces and we will also quote people from the pro-abortion side. 

Okay, so you will quote?

O yes, of course, we will quote people from the pro-abortion side; we will try to present their position accurately. So that if they read the article they would not be thinking that we are taking out their words out of context. But we are still for the Biblical position that life is good and abortion is wrong. 

But why do we give that opportunity for pro-abortion activist to proclaim their position? Is this the way to stay professional? 

Yes, but its more than that, our job is to serve our readers. We want our readers to understand not just the biblical position but why some people are very much opposed to that position. Some people think that abortion is okay, we want our readers to understand that. And it’s good than to let our readers see what people on that side are actually saying. We still don’t think that that view is equal and as good as pro-life view. So when we tell a story it’s most likely we know this is the pro-life person is going to be working very hard and sometimes heroically, to try to save babies. And we will tell a story about that person. 

But the readers can make a decision after? 

The readers can make the decision, but we see a lot of journalist who would say, ‘we are just going to present the pro-life position and we are going to present the pro-abortion position and the reader can decide which is right and which is wrong’. Well we’re going to tell a story that will help people see this from a biblical perspective. Most publications are just a continuation of this example. Very sadly most secular publications in United States are favoring abortion, so they will tell a story from their perspective. And the people on the other side, with a biblical position, will call anti-choice and those people usually will be the villains. That is one of the ways of doing it.  We try to tell the story from a biblical perspective, and in the Bible the people who are trying to obey God and do His will are the heroes. Doesn’t mean they’re always good, because in the Bible a lot of the heroes or great patriarchs did bad things. I mean, they are sinners and we are sinners. So it is not that we are going to give propaganda, we are just going to say that everything that pro-life people do is right and so forth. Yeah we are going to try tell a story, we are human beings we are facing real obstacles, real pressures, real tensions. We’ll try to tell the story in a way to help people see it from a Biblical perspective. So that’s on something that the Bible is very clear. There are lots of other issues, let’s say the current issue involving economic trade or what’s the price of natural gas should be. 

Who are your readers? Believers, Christians, or non-Christians?

Well most of our readers are believers. 

When was the World Magazine established? 

World Magazine started 1986 as a magazine from a biblical perspective. 

Expressional position?

Expressional position, it says that right on the mass ted, which gives the names of the people who write and gives our position. 

Who is the World Magazine’s owner – church or commercial organization?

There’s a board, a nonprofit organization in the United States, and there’s a board of directors. Some are from ministry some are from journalism some are from other walks of life. They come on the board because they believe in the mission of World. The mission of the World is to try to explain what goes on in the world from a biblical perspective. It’s bi-weekly. 

Do you sell it? 

We sell it because we like to have jobs.  But also there are special contributions and donations. 

What about subscription? 

We sell subscriptions. We aren’t on the newsstand, so people could buy single issues. We sell subscriptions, we have about 100,000 subscribers, mostly in the USA and a few abroad.  They pay $50-$60 dollars a year. That gives us the money to hire reporters and editors, photographers and people in graphic design. Most of our money comes from subscriptions but it’s different for each case. Most magazines in Unites States, their revenue comes from advertisements. Most of our revenue comes from subscriptions, some comes from donations.  Our donations are largely from Christians who would like to see a magazine like this. But we hope that the non Christians will read the magazine. We hope that a non Christian will pick it up, and say, “Oh, now I understand! Now this makes sense, I’ve learned from it.” So we try to tell stories rather than just give Bible verse after Bible verse. We try to tell stories so people can understand what a pro-life person thinks, what a pro-marriage person thinks. So even people in the opposite position we hope they will read the story and go, “Aha! Now I understand that these people are not stupid or they do not hate me and things like that, that they actually love people.” 

But do you write articles in a popular way or just for intellectual audience?

Yes, we write articles in a popular way. We don’t write them in a childish way. People have to read and think, but it’s not at all for the intellectuals. 

Who are your partners and are they among secular media? For example, is Fox your partner in World view position? 

It’s an interesting question. Well, in the USA there are lots of debates going on. There’s certainly debate about social issues such as abortion and marriage. Our partners on those things would be socially conservative publications. In a sense of they are for marriage between a man and a woman. They are for giving life to children rather than killing them. They are for children being able to grow in Christian schools, being able to home school their children. So on those types of issues we would be in agreement with some secular publications.

What are they?

National Review, for example, it’s a conservative publication, socially conservative publication. American traditions come out of Christian understanding. So the history of America comes from biblical principles there’s a lot of debate about those now. But if you go earlier in American history the traditions come from Christianity, so there are publications that are traditional and they would agree with us on those social issues but maybe not other things. 

Marvin, what is the problem? Why liberal positions are so popular among secular journalism? And also why most media are liberal in their positions? And when journalists even say that, “I’m a Christian, and I believe in Jesus Christ, and it is my personal faith”, in fact they can have a problem at their work place. 

Oh, they can. Why are most journalists liberal? Most journalists in United States go to college. Colleges tend to be very liberal in their education. In United States, it’s very interesting that most married woman tend to be in some ways conservative politically, which means more traditional. And there are more single women and women who have been divorced tend to be more liberal. And maybe that in journalism now, there are more young journalists who are female than there are male. For most part, they are single, because often if they were married they would be having children and not working in that way. And so, single women tend to be liberal also in that way. Those are two reasons. What are the other reasons?

But how can we change that? How can we call journalists to be literal, educated on a religious subject? 

That’s a very good question. The most elite Universities in United States tend to be the most liberal and so the people who graduate there, they have stereotypes on Christianity. 

But can society press the media in any way? 

In the United States, because there’s freedom of speech? the society not so much press the media. Many journalists into a large extent have written for other journalist.  Now here’s the way the pressure comes in. In the past, 8 years ago or so, the economic pressures on journalist in newspapers has grown because so many newspapers and magazines were depended on advertisements and a lot of those publications had to reduce the size of their staffs. And they had to pay more attention to what the public thinks. For example, Fox News is now most watched news channel on cable, on television, in United States. And is still conservative in many ways on social issues.  But now Fox is most watched, more than CNN. CNN which is more liberal has lost viewers to Fox, or their watching other things. So in some way, you talk about social pressure, the journalist of CNN they think, “Well I have to change a little bit of what I am doing because we are losing our audience, and FOX is gaining.” So there are those types of pressure. 

Can we say that audiences are still conservative mostly, and that is why they watch FOX news mostly? Or that is not the reason?

More if you ask people more Americans will say they are conservative than there are liberal. So there’s the audience. Now at the same time, most Americans watch FOX than CNN but still there are networks, there are ABC, NBC, CBS that are very powerful. And lots of people still get their news from there. And those are liberal. All the news networks in the United States, those are liberal with the exception of FOX. FOX is conservative. So even thought more Americans say that they are conservative than liberal, most Americans get their news from liberal sources. And that influences, I think, the way they think and vote on politics. And there are difficulties there.

If there’s a news story that is inaccurate, people blog about it or, I mean there’s a very active Internet, so you can’t say anything without it being challenged. And if their challenged, liberals and networks may still ignore they challenges but at least their aware of them. It is so much better than it was 20 years ago, when a liberal publication could say something that was not true and would not be challenged. Now are there the challenges and that’s very good, but still these are things that are slowly changing. So I think our job in the World is to try to tell stories that help liberals understand where Christians and conservatives are coming from. We try to do as much as we can but it’s a slow process. 

What can you tell to Ukrainian Christians, who is involved in secular Media as well as in religious? 

What I wish and pray for is that they will persevere, not give up, keep trying and working. I understand it’s difficult and maybe dangerous, but I as understand the verse from Jeremiah 29, that we have to be blessing to the city around us. I think it’s important to have strong media that Christians own and operate, and I think it’s important for Christians as much as possible to work in the secular media. So there are two paths and both of them are really important, and both of them are involved in trying to be a blessing not only to the Christians but to the whole city and Country. Sometimes we face some pressure and we think that we just going to serve in our church, neighborhood or community, and it is important to do that, but as much as possible as a journalists we need to be reporting on the things and helping people to understand the biblical perspective. This is the way we can use whatever talents God has given us.

Ruslan Kukharchuk, Yuliya Maruk, The Novomedia Association.