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Christian journalists make a difference

Four young Christian men and women studying broadcasting at tertiary level received Scholarships last month from the Churches Broadcasting Commission (CBC).

This is the third year CBC has awarded the scholarships. This year’s winners are Irene MacArthur, Samantha Carstens, Andrew Morrison and Stephanie Plank. Stephanie was also presented with the Stewart Hillman Memorial Award, made available through the Christian Broadcasting Association (CBA).

One of the first CBC scholarship recipients, Joy McArthur, now a reporter with National Radio, presented the 2006 Scholarships. Joy encouraged the students to be strong, be themselves, and don’t compromise. She told them it’s not always easy being a Christian in the mainstream media but if they hang in and they’ll grow as people, as broadcasters, and as Christians.

“Christians are up against a lot of prejudice in the media. Most stories that highlight Christians are negative. Anything that puts Christians in a bad light will make the front page because it is controversial,” Joy says.

“But most media people have very little contact with Christians. I think it is important that I share my faith with my colleagues and show them Christians are real people. Christians aren’t boring. They are normal people who believe in a higher destiny.”

Joy says journalism is a high pressure job and one in which she has to deal with the traumatic stories of victims in the courts and elsewhere. Her faith and her belief that God does not want her to fail give her a sense of calm and a broader perspective on things.

CBC broadcasting scholarship secretary Errol Pike says with the addition of this year’s awards 11 scholarships have been awarded to Christian journalism students.

To be eligible students must be enrolled in the Auckland University of Technology, the Avalon Film and Television School in Wellington, or the Broadcasting School at Christchurch Polytechnic.

“While the students are grateful for the money, they seem even more grateful for the encouragement this gives them,” Erroll says. “Even in the applications many state that they are encouraged simply by the fact that the scholarships are offered. For them to know that the church supports them in this way in their chosen career is obviously very affirming,” he says.

Each scholarships is worth $1500 and they are funded by donations from CBC reserves, CBA, churches, and individuals with concerns about where the media is heading.

CBC chairperson Trish Moseley says funds are low and CBC will be looking for donations of about $5000 from churches and individuals to finance the scholarships in 2007.

“I feel the people in the pews should be aware of the progress we have made with our scholarships and what they mean to journalism in this country. They also need to know about the hard efforts we put into fundraising and how much any donation means to us.

“I feel the little old lady's $5 is as important as an organisation that donates $1000. Each dollar helps achieve our dreams and goals.”

Anyone interested in making a donation can call Trish Moseley at 09 303 3474 or email pmoseley@paradise.net.nz.