This blog is maintained on behalf of the Amy Foundation for the purpose of tracking the best Christian journalism we find on the Web. Our posts regularly identify those news articles or opinions in the mainstream media that represent good faith-based writing and example them for other Christian journalists.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Criticism is harder to receive than give …

Blogging on good faith-based journalism is a lonely business. If I am fortunate, a thankful writer will respond positively to me pointing out a qualifying article for the Amy Writing Awards. On occasion, I receive positive feedback when pointing out how an unqualified opinion or article could have qualified.

But most of the interaction happens by email and not in comments, which is what blogging is all about. I have been challenged to figure out how to get more comments and interaction.

That changed this week when I received the following comment:

This phrase seems to contradict what "bump" is trying to say:

"...knowing we have to overcome evil with good, good writing with bad, and good faith with what’s not so good."

When we are writing about writing, we need to exemplify it, especially by critically proofreading our own writing.

The post came from someone new to Blogger this month and took issue with my criticism of a questionable sample of Christian journalism in my piece titled, “What we are not looking for …”

Although I figured the target of my initial rant must have discovered my critique and fired back, I took the criticism hard, going back over the comment and over my blog post, trying to figure out what I had said that elicited such a response.

Since I don't have editorial support, I tapped a friend with strong editing skills and she pointed out that I used the word “through” instead of “throw.” Honest spell-checking error, I admit.

My friend suggested that I could have included scripture to make my case:

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."  (Ephesians 4:2)

That one hit me between the eyes since including scripture is the key component to a AWA qualifying article or opinion.

She also suggested that my closing statement could been rewritten:

It is my hope that fellow Christian writers will see articles like this one and feel challenged to share the good news even more.  We know we have to overcome evil with good, implementing better writing and our faith.

In those brief comments, my friend confirmed what I already knew: people are much more accepting of constructive criticism when they are seeking advice or when it's positively put, and much less so when they find their published work criticized publicly.

For this I would like to apologize to the original author I criticized. That is not the way to encourage good writing and I have learned a valuable lesson: criticism is harder to receive than give.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Good, nonqualifying article

Here is an interesting story in the Des Moines Register (1/28) written by Erin Crawford, entitled “Jason Rich keeps faith in God, looks to 'American Idol' for fame.”

Crawford writes:
Christian singer/songwriter Jason Rich, a 21-year-old from Dike, wasted no time in adding “2008 American Idol contestant” to his biography.

Tuesday night's episode of the hit talent contest on the Fox network will feature auditions in Omaha, Neb., that were held in August 2007. Viewers may get to see footage of Rich, who sang a country song, Keith Whitley’s “When You Say Nothing At All.”

“I’m not really a country singer,” he said. “I’m a contemporary Christian artist with a fairly progressive acoustic style.
Read more>>
I was drawn to the article because I watched a segment of this year’s American Idol (AI) preliminary round (Philadelphia) and I know there has been some complaints about AI producers tease up the emotions of contestants.

I thought the article was well written, general interest grabbing, and portrayed the protagonist’s faith in real world terms. This is just the type of article we are looking for in the Amy Writing Awards.

Unfortunately, the article does not contact a piece of identifiable scripture, which is a critical component in qualifying.

I will email Erin and let her know about the contest and qualifying requirements so may be we’ll see some of her articles qualify.

Keep up the good work, Erin!