A Brief History of the World Journalism Institute
The offices of the World Journalism Institute are located on the campus of The King's College in New York City.
In the early 1940's, L. Nelson Bell returned from his work as a medical missionary in China to Asheville, N.C. On his return, he found theological liberalism threatening the very Presbyterian denomination that had sent him out as a missionary.
So Dr. Bell founded a new magazine, the Southern Presbyterian Journal, in an effort to return the church to its biblical moorings. In the 1950's, the Journal was read beyond Presbyterianism for its reporting on the church scene and its analysis of ecumenical liberalism. Dr. Bell also used what he had learned about magazine publishing to play a lead role in the formation of yet another magazine, Christianity Today.
By 1981, the board of the Journal had taken on a new assignment: they introduced a series of current events papers for children, patterned after the long-popular Weekly Reader. In just two years, the circulation of this new publication was already double the circulation and volume of the parent magazine.
The board of directors changed its corporate name to God's World Publications, Inc.
In March of 1986, World magazine was launched under the leadership of Dr. William S. Barker to provide a weekly summary of world news and commentary from a Christian perspective for adults. In March 1987, Joel Belz became the editor and publisher of World magazine.
In 2001, World magazine became a separate for-profit corporation wholly owned by God's World Publications, Inc. and now operates with a separate board of directors.
In 2007, World magazine returned to a not-for-profit status with its separate board of directors.
World Journalism Institute
In February 1998, Joel Belz, Marvin Olasky, Nick Eicher and Robert Case had informal conversations in Atlanta and discussed the need for God's World Publications to have its own training school for Christian journalists. Case, because of his interest, training and time, took on the responsibility to mount such a training program with the first classes to be held during the summer of 1999. The threefold focus for this journalism training would be World magazine, other Christian publications and the mainstream press.
In the summer of 1999, twenty-two students gathered in Asheville to study journalism from a Christian worldview. These serious students were the first of many classes to gather at the urban campus of the World Journalism Institute for the intensive journalism course. They attended classes from 8:30 to 4:00 (sometimes later) each day for a month, and then returned home to write assigned articles for the WJI teachers for four months. Even before coming to Asheville, the students had assigned reading and writing to be handed in on arrival. At the successful completion of the six-month course, each student was designated a "Fellow" of the World Journalism Institute.
In the spring of 2000, WJI held a weekend college journalism conference for high schoolers. During the summer of 2000, WJI held a second summer/fall term college journalism course. In the fall of 2000, WJI held two high school weekend conferences and a successful high school Christmas workshop. However, the Board of Directors decided that the main focus of WJI should be on college and post-college students.
In the fall of 2000, Belz and Case visited The King's College in New York at the invitation of TKC journalism teacher Helen Matthews Smith, to see how a cooperative arrangement could be managed. During spring vacation, 2001, WJI held its first college journalism workshop. In May 2001, at the invitation of TKC president Dr. Friedhelm Radandt, WJI took its program to New York City and held a May term course at the urban campus of The King's College in the Empire State Building. This was followed by courses in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.
The programs of the World Journalism Institute have continued to expand under the leadership of Director Robert Case. Currently, the institute holds a multi-week summer course in New York City. The institute also holds various weekend conferences throughout the country. Additionally, the institute publishes a unique monograph series on the intersection of Christianity and journalism. Finally, institute staff present the WJI program at numerous national journalism conventions around the year through its tabletop display, monographs, public presentations and hosted events.
In the fall of 2005, the institute opened a branch office on the campus of The King's College in New York City.
In the fall of 2006, at the invitation of President Stanley Oakes, the institute moved its headquarters to The King's College in the Empire State Building, with staff member Kim Collins as Deputy Director.
In early 2011, Dr. Marvin Olasky was appointed Dean of Instruction for WJI by Kevin Martin, CEO of God's World Publications, Inc. and began to direct the instruction for the institute.
Board of Directors of World Journalism Institute
Director of Federal Affairs, Justice Fellowship
Keven P. Cusack
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Grand Rapids, MI
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William H. Newton, III
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Raymond F. Thompson
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