"All you need to say is simply 'Yes' or 'No, anything beyond this comes from the evil one" (Matthew 5:37). The Communication Department of the Church of South India (CSI) Synod organized Report and Feature workshop for the Tamil Region at Bishop Selvamony Retreat Centre in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, from 25.02.2021 to 27.02.2021 by partnering with the Department of Communications of the Kanyakumari Diocese and EMS, Germany. The workshop was inaugurated by Rt. Rev. S.E.C. Devasahayam, the Chairperson of the Synod Communication Department. He appreciated the initiative taken by the Department of Communication Synod and the Kanyakumari Diocese to organize such a wonderful workshop promoting the growth in human development. He emphasised that a 'Church without communication ceases to be a Church in its nature'. The Scriptures becomes an able communicative tool of the Gospel which has been handed down to us from ages past (Matthew 5: 10) affirms the power of written words and also calls us to affirm this power in our lives. He pointed out that it is our inherent duty to exhibit the church's responsibility through our words and deeds. He reminded the delegates that "Pen is mightier than the sword, which can shake the history of humanity. We don't just need preachers, but also writers to shake and transform this world through writing". He encouraged the Christian Writers to follow certain approaches such as "Powerful Resistance, Bringing Alternatives, Envisioning Transformation, Envisioning Liberation and Enriching Life. Let our writing be Resourceful, Resistant, Reliable and Reforming in nature".
The sessions on the first day began with regional Tamil songs. Rev. Wilson invocated God's presence with a prayer. Rev. Sunil Raj Philip, the Director of the Synod Communication Department, gave an introduction regarding the training camp and welcomed the gathering. The inauguration took place by lighting the earthen lamps placed in front of the flowers and plants indicating life and light.
Mr Andrew Christopher moderated the first session by welcoming the Keynote speaker Rev. Dr Alfred Stephen, Professor, Tamil Nadu Theological Seminary. He spoke on Christian Journalism and explained 5 important key points for Christian journalism. Firstly, he insisted that the Role of a Christian journalist, is to make things simple, and that would be the uniqueness of a good Christian journalist. Secondly, there are two different types of writing regarding Christian journalism which is "Reporting Type" and "Narrative Type". Thirdly, the base content for a Christian journalist is to write a report based on the Gospel giving importance to the Gospel in the Bible. He says that the Challenges of a Christian journalist is to face the consequences while reporting for the Gospel in an unbiased manner with 'no compromise'. He concluded by saying that a journalist should be a 'Prophet' in a world of chaos and says that a Christian journalist is one who should give the solution to the investigation made and also be the instrument of justice.
The second session was led by Dr M. Jezer Jebanesan, Former Principal, Scott Christian College. Mr Suhash moderated the session. The topic for this session was "The importance of having command on language and vocabulary". He assigned an exercise to the delegates asking them to imagine and write, "What Jesus would have written on the ground!" (John 8: 6). Delegates from various dioceses responded actively with different opinions and perspectives. He then raised a question, "Do Christian articles have readability?" and also asked the delegates to follow the formula 'AIDAS' (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action, and Satisfaction) as it would be very useful for report writing. He also said that an article should have suspense and a sense of humour to be published in well-reputed magazines.
Mr N. Swamynathan, Reporter, The Hindu, who led the third session was introduced by Mr Bhakta Singh. Mr Swamynathan spoke on the topic "Report writing: Gathering Info/ Inverted pyramid". He said that 'Authentic News' can be found within a lane, a street or a local area and not from any outside source. He called upon the delegates to represent the conscious voice of the people and to write what we think is essential for the community with a sense of justice. He insisted that one should not to use unnecessary words to describe news content. He also said that the resources that the journalist has will serve as a strategic move in the reporting field.
The final session for the day was rendered by Dr J. R. V. Edward, Principal, Scott Christian College. The session was moderated by Rev. Jeyathilaka Prathaban. Dr Edward spoke on the topic "Media Ethics". He says that one can understand ethics in media by following its "5 Principles" such as 'Truth & Accuracy', 'Independence', 'Fairness and Impartiality', 'Humanism and Accountability/ Responsibility'. The concluding remarks of the day were delivered by Rev. Sunil Raj Philip. He also gave an assignment on report writing on the day's event and concluded with a prayer.
~ CSI Synod Communication Reporting Team