Uriel Castellanos of the Chiapas Mexican Union speaks during Inter-America’s first News Summit Advisory, held Nov. 6-7, 2019, in Miami, Florida, United States. A select group of communicators and news content providers met for two days of training and planning designed to strengthen news coverage and collaboration across the territory. Photo: IAD Communication Team

November 24, 2019 | Miami, Florida, United States | IAD News Staff

A select group of communicators and news content providers from across the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Inter-America recently met for two days of training and planning designed to strengthen news coverage and collaboration across the territory. The first-of-their-kind meetings, coined as the News Summit Advisory, drew two dozen communicators, news writers and media producers on Nov. 6-7, 2019, to the Inter-American Division (IAD) headquarter office in Miami, Florida, to better understand their role in expanding news coverage throughout the IAD and the world.

“We need to be more contextualized today, be real, and be more flexible in our circle of action, which is not limited to where we are, and be more intentional about sharing news,” said Abel Márquez, communication director for the church in Inter-America and main organizer of the advisory. It’s about thinking globally but acting locally, he said, “so that together we can build what can make us stronger as a church.”

Pastor Williams Costa, communication director for the Adventist world church reminds communicators that moving together as a team is important at all levels of the church when it comes to increasing news content. Photo: IAD Communication Team

Collaborating more

Collaborating more, getting more involved in sharing news, creating more news content in many forms are the keys to creating a culture of constant news consumption in the church and in the community, added Márquez.

Pastor Williams Costa, communication director for the Adventist world church, reminded communicators that “everything we do as a church is a result of collaboration.”

“Perhaps you’re not an expert in news writing like those in the news world, but if you have perhaps a little content and willingness, take it to Jesus,” said Costa. “The merit of your work is not necessarily of what you do, but what Jesus can do through you. Collaboration with Jesus is the secret.”

Libna Stevens, assistant communication director for the church in Inter-America in charge of news, reminds news content providers of their responsibility of ensuring that the news they share inform, inspire, and connect to church members and those in the external audience. Photo: IAD Communication Team

Costa stressed that moving together as a team is important at all levels of the church when it comes to increasing news content. He encouraged communicators to acquire more skills to produce content that can inspire people.

“We need to use communication to inspire people for the mission of the church,” Costa said.

News that inspire

Keeping church members informed, inspired and connected with news stories that impact the church, the community and the world will move them into getting actively involved as well as funding the mission of the church, said Libna Stevens, assistant communication director in charge of news content for the church in Inter-America.

Abel Márquez (left), communication director for the church in Inter-America interviews the top news content provider for the Caribbean Union Royston Philber (right), communication director for the North Caribbean Conference, during day one of the summit, Nov. 6, 2019. Photo: IAD Communication Team

“News stories help preserve the culture, identity, history, and mission of the church, so we must ensure that we continue to share more news to inspire others in Inter-America and around the world about how the gospel is impacting people across the 40 countries and islands in the IAD territory,” said Stevens. “Whether you have contributed news for years or just shared a few news stories or perhaps you just only share with your local territory, or are about to begin to share news from now on, we all have the potential to share more and keep the conversation going with news stories, relevant stories that inspire.”

Summit participants reviewed news writing guidelines, how to prepare news content for Adventist News Network, writing news with a purpose, making photos stand out for news stories, photography coverage for events, building media relations, interviewing for good quotes, content strategies for social media, swift and thorough coverage of disasters in the territory, and more.

Jennifer Stymiest, assistant communication director for the Adventist world church talks about the Global News Platform in development that will increase the news content flow around the world. Photo: IAD Communication Team

Jennifer Stymiest, assistant communication director in charge of news for the Adventist world church, presented a global news platform being developed right now in partnership between the world church communication department and Adventist Review Ministries. “The software will allow for fast and easy sharing of news content from around the world church through Adventist-yearbook-registered entities in many languages,” said Stymiest. The software is still in the works, said Stymiest, “but will benefit the world church immensely and grow more content.”

Sharing news content

Communicators and news providers from selected unions and institutions shared their news content projects for the community, collaborative efforts among different unions, or regions, and vowed to increase the level of news coverage in their respective regions.

Nigel Coke, communication director for the church in Jamaica, encourages communicators and journalists to build strong media relations where they live. Photo: IAD Communication Team

“You know, sometimes in the midst of so many projects and so many things that you have to do, sometimes it gets discouraging because you have to focus on what is the most pressing at the moment, but it’s been so positive to see what others are doing and it encourages you to keep going and strive for more news coverage,” said Sharon Dominguez, news content provider for the Inter-Oceanic Mexican Union.

For Nigel Coke, veteran news writer and communication director for the church in Jamaica, the work involves more than just writing news. “This is all about end-time work that we have to do to share the gospel,” said Coke. “I really appreciate the direction that we are going through together.”

Talks of upcoming projects to strengthen news providers with content included advance news coverage training online, collaborative projects for territory events and impact across the IAD territory, and more.

Daniela Arrieta of the North Colombia Union shares her news content projects she and her team have been working on this year to share news in Medellin and surrounding region. Photo: IAD Communication Team

“I know this will be a turning point for Inter-America as we endeavor more to work together, more closely to strengthen the image of the church and inspire millions with news content that moves them to action in the fulfillment of the mission,” said Marquez.

For more about the Seventh-day Adventist Church across Inter-America and its communication initiatives, visit us at interamerica.org

Group photo of the news content providers at the IAD News Summit Advisory, held Nov. 6-7, 2019. [Photo: IAD Communication Team]

To view a photo gallery of Inter-America’s News Summit Advisory, Click HERE

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