by J. Randal Matheny, editor
With the revelation of U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner’s sordid secret life by Andrew Breitbart’s (photo) websites, both print and broadcast media were forced to acknowledge the factual reports of Breitbart’s investigative journalism as the congressman himself admitted to his lies.
While the online journalist was reporting on the case and defending himself against accusations that he was the hacker of Weiner’s Twitter account, the best the “New York Times” could do was to tweet at the congressman’s confessional: “Representative Anthony D. Weiner Acknowledges Communication With Women Online.”
Shortly before Weiner’s press conference Monday, June 6, reporters apparently urged Breitbart, who had made a surprise appearance to hear the representative, to take the microphone and answer questions, which he did. The symbolism of this impromptu session is significant.
The story has become not only Weiner’s indiscretions and lies, but how his lewdness was revealed to the public by a vigorous online news site, while the mainstream media either sat by passively or “attacked the messenger,” as Breitbart put it.
The moment appears to mark the ascendancy of online journalism over traditional print and broadcast.
Our interest in this story is not the political ramifications, but the growing social and cultural impact of online media. The Internet has come of age for journalism.
At our official launch February, 2008, as an online news service, and before, informally, since 2006, BrotherhoodNews.com established the goal to publish
the latest and breaking news of the brotherhood, as well as interviews, stories and surveys of works and countries. Its primary focus is on congregations and individuals as they live out the example of Christ in the world and permit God to use them for his kingdom today.
As an online medium, BNc has the advantage of cost, speed, agility, and flexibility, without sacrificing the independence and accountability needed for good journalism. The news site is a collaborative effort of like-minded Christians, so it’s not beholden to any group, region, or school, except to please the Lord and serve the brotherhood.
The news site continues to grow with new contributors, new features, like Baptism365.com, and new subscribers.
At the same time, BrotherhoodNews.com has a tenuous base, so to speak, since all the staff are unpaid volunteers. We get to stories as we can, don’t have as much opportunity to sniff them out as we’d like, and depend on friends to feed us tips and leads.
But in the same way that we look at a small congregation — like so many churches the staff work with — and think how fragile it is, from a human vantage point, the Lord surprises us with the robustness and vigor of the work. We pray that continues to be true of BNc.
For BNc to grow and develop into a greater presence in the brotherhood and a wider influence for good, we covet your prayers, your support, and your suggestions. Because online news sites are here to stay as a powerful force in a connected world. And in the kingdom of God, this news ministry has been put at his disposal to become what he sees fit to make it.
Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three married children and six grandchildren. He sometimes writes “7 Points.” http://randal.us