By Michael Ireland, Senior Reporter, ASSIST News Service, firstname.lastname@example.org
MINNEAPOLIS, MN (ANS, October 8, 2015) — According to research conducted by Pew Research Center in a report titled, ‘How people use the news and feel about the news’, news meets a mixture of social, civic, personally-enriching, and work-related needs in people’s lives.
The 93% of Americans who say they follow the news at least occasionally report a variety of reasons for doing so. Surprisingly, the most popular reasons for following the news do not relate to personal entertainment or professional motivations. Instead, they have to do with social interaction and/or a sense of civic responsibility:
72% of the news-consumer cohort said one reason they consume news is because they enjoyed talking about it with family, friends and colleagues
69% of this group say they feel they have a social or civic obligation to stay informed
61% say they often find information in the news that helps them improve their lives
44% say news provides a relaxing diversion or personal entertainment
19% say they need to follow the news for their jobs
Earlier this week, ASSIST News Service put out a request for information on how our readers ‘use the news’ we provide each day from many different sources around the world.
We received many responses from as far apart as Australia and Zambia.
Christine Crees wrote from Lydney in Gloucestershire, United Kingdom. She was a member of The Messengers, the outreach team in Birmingham, England that resulted in the start of the drug rehabilitation work at Hill Farm carried out by Dan and Norma Wooding, and which is featured in Wooding’s book, ‘Junkies Are People Too’. See also: http://www.oldassistnews.net/Stories/2014/s14110028.htm
Christine was widowed a year ago and has known Dan Wooding from many years ago when he led a team of young people to do evangelism in Birmingham. “I was one of those and personally knew both Dan and Norma. He introduced me to ASSIST some years back, and started to send me emails. My husband was a Pentecostal minister for some years and our particular interest in missions was persecuted Christians. While we were in Bible College [where we met] we used to attend a prayer group for the Communist world and later after we married, we held it in our flat. We even attempted to try and move to Europe to work with Communist refugees but the Lord opened the door for us to go into the ministry instead!”
She continues: “Obviously my interest is in any details of Christians who are being persecuted in any area of the world, those particularly within the Muslim world for which I pray each day. Some of the emails I get seem be to very much for folk in the US, so I don’t understand them, but I do appreciate the emails concerning these areas I pray for. I am especially praying for the release of Pastor Saeed, who is imprisoned in an Iran prison along with other Iranian pastors.”
Christine added: “I have a number of friends to whom I forward certain emails as they also pray for similar things that I do, and I occasionally print out some as I have a friend who doesn’t have a computer but she faithfully prays and also appreciates the information.”
Marykay Klim lives in New Jersey and uses ASSIST News on her personal Facebook and church pages, as well as in a weekly bulletin of pro-life/persecuted church news.
“I also use postings/mailings from Assist, VOM, and other sites to post news for the persecuted church, on the large world map in the narthex of the church. Every now and again, I might post something from Assist to a private on-line women’s prayer group, also.”
Perrinell Ward from Cooper, Texas, reads all of the Assist News articles, “Because I know that the truth is being told. And if it is an article on some writer’s opinion, it is usually what I agree with, because they are not only conservative, they are Christian.
“For example, the articles on the shooting in Oregon. I know that I have the truth. Not a slant to further someone’s agenda.”
Perrinell also forwards a lot of the articles to others. “Another example of this is I have a brother who nearly ended up homeless, actually ended up working for a mission for the homeless. The articles from Jeremy (Reynalds) in Albuquerque have been a tremendous help to him.
“So thank you for this site. It is one I trust, whether all of the articles pertain to me or not.”
Rev. Alan Miller said: “Michael, thank you for welcoming our feedback. As a pastor, the ASSIST/ANS material informs and edifies me personally. In addition, it provides excellent information and illustrations for sermon preparation.”
Suzanne Bayliss from Sydney, Australia, said: “Firstly I look forward to receiving it and get up-to-date news on what is happening in the world. With your film articles I enjoy friends to see the movies, they are not always released in Australia. I organize a prayer group on Sundays after church and print and share articles with those I pray. I also teach Religious Education in a local school. I teach 3rd and4th grades and share appropriate articles with them. I also share them with friends. Thank you for this wonderful service. God bless you in this important work. In His wonderful Name.”
Marion Cohen, also from Australia, says she has been getting news via ASSISTNEWS for some time now and “finds most of the articles very interesting and frequently enlightening.”
“Those I enjoy most are stories of how the Gospel is changing people’s lives all over the world – others about persecuted Christians I can pray for, and what ISIS is doing.
“I am particularly interested in how Islam generally is becoming a force to be reckoned with in so many countries. The pertinent ones I send to my two pastors for their information also. Others to whom I send information include other Christian family and friends who appreciate the news. I believe it’s been very helpful to all.”
From Zambia, Emelda writes: “Firstly I would like to thank you and your team for such an effort of keeping us updated with what is happening all over the world.
“I was born and bred in South Africa, widowed with one daughter who will be going to University next year. I am a born again Christian and I travel by train every day to work, thus enjoying to be part of the train ministry. So your daily updates of what is happening, especially in the East African countries, keeps us rooted and aware of what is happening to our fellow Christian brothers and sisters.
“So I always share your stories so that people should know how lucky we still are this side of the world, and we should do nothing else but hold on to the cross of Jesus. Also tell other fellow Christians how important it is for everybody to pray for each other, for all the affected countries and never forget to thank the Lord for his mercy upon our country. Even though there is so much drug abuse by the youth but the Lord is always our living hope in this broken world. Thanks you and may God bless all of you. Keep up the good work and keep on sending us the news.”
Also from Zambia, Desireé Phipps said: “I receive ANS emails every day. In response to the question “how do readers ‘use’ the news”, I have this answer: I often forward ANS emailed news to fellow Christian friends or family. The news, especially about the persecuted Church gives me prayer pointers.”
Desireé commented: “I have one suggestion /request though : When stories are told about how someone ‘witnessed’ to another and caused that person to commit his/her life to Jesus, I always wonder what was shared, what was said, etc. I think more people would ‘witness’ for Jesus if given the proper ‘tools’ (guidelines). Thank you.”
Dennis Lombard, editor of Home Times Family Newspaper www.myhometimes.net in Lake Worth, Florida, which is a new broadsheet newspaper and a growing website, said: “We appreciate most the ANS news about the world, persecution, etc., which are not played well in the secular press. But there is a wide variety of other stories we can use. ANS is a major source.”
“Thank You for ASSIST News Service!” writes Paul Clark, a semi-retired missionary in Japan, President Emeritus of Osaka Bible Seminary www.jesus4greaterasia.com
Paul pointed to the Pew Research Study we cited about how 69 percent of the group surveyed by Pew said they feel they have a social or civic obligation to stay informed.
He wrote: “You state, ‘ASSIST has a unique news niche in the areas of Persecution of Christians, Missions and Ministries, as well as reporting on Popular Culture.’ You have pretty well summed up why I need 🙂 ASSIST!”
Paul said: “I take it as a responsibility to be informed across the spectrum of your specified niche areas and you do it better than anyone else I have run across.”
Formerly a Green Beret in the U.S. Armed Forces, who played a role in the Special Forces Honor Guard for President Kennedy as a Ft. Bragg veteran, Paul says: “’Thank You!’ has come to seem inadequate to express my thanks, so I had begun to use the expression, ‘I appreciate it!’ I really do APPRECIA’Te‘IT !! ASSIST and the hard work behind the scene of all the writing and compiling that makes it possible!”
Marily writes: “Some of your items on what is going on in our country or the world are added information to what you read in newspapers, etc. and it helps me know how to pray and in some cases take action. So, I really appreciate your giving more information in those areas. A few items don’t interest me as much as a senior citizen, but you need to report a variety of items.”
A contact ay ACBN, Radio Maranatha, says they use ANS stories for Praise and Prayer times, and privately, learning from recommendable sources what is happening worldwide, and to share certain topics with friends who have interest in those topics.
Dave Fackler says: “Love your postings and your focus. You cover news items that the larger media outlets intentionally omit, or it is just not on their radar. Thank you!”
Reader Ann Johnstone told us that she “tends to be most interested in articles featuring persecution of Christian and other minority groups, or personal testimonies – for example, those who have had a dramatic conversion from their dysfunctional and/or violent lifestyle to Christianity.
“I take note of their background: for example, whether they are former Muslims (including, but not exclusively, terrorists), drug addicts, atheists, etc. I post many of these stories to Facebook and Twitter, as an evangelistic tool.”
Ann continued: “I am primarily interested in stories that point to aspects of Christianity, and use these to attract others to Christ. These include not only the above, but also stories of healings (physical, mental and spiritual), changed lifestyles as the direct result of conversion to Christianity, stories that speak of lives changed from hopelessness to fruitfulness, self-centerednesss to generosity.”
More recently, Ann has shared stories about those who have died confessing Christ rather than renouncing their faith. “My aim is to build up the Body of Christ so that all believers will be strengthened in their faith and prepared to stand up for their belief in Jesus. I live in Australia, and am deeply aware that many Christians still do not know (or else refuse to admit) that persecution is taking place in the Middle East and other countries, mainly – but not exclusively – at the hands of Islamic State.
“I am particularly interested in sharing stories of Muslims who have been converted to Christianity after receiving a vision of Jesus. This has been happening increasingly over the past few years, and has transformed violent and even murderous Muslims into fervent Christians. One example of this is Mosab Hassan Yousef, who wrote ‘Son of Hamas’ and who is the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a founding leader of Hamas.”
Adrian Hawkes, a long-time friend of Dan Wooding’s from the UK, who is involved with the Rainbow Church in London, England, told how NLMTV in Paris, France, mostly carries preaching programs. He said he would like to see NLMTV, with which he is also involved, to carry news as well instead of just ‘preaching,’ “though we also do music and dance, and recently I have done a series of very short talks on Leadership, Prayer, and have another series on Culture ready to go.”
ANS founder, Dan Wooding, has developed a new American television show which focuses on the plight of persecuted Christians world-wide, and is taken from the main stories of the week carried by the ASSIST News Service. Called “Windows on the World,” it is hosted by author, broadcaster and speaker, Pam Christian, and our own veteran journalist, Dan Wooding, and the pair discuss each of the ANS stories in a way to make viewers more aware about what is happening to our brothers and sisters globally at this violence period, especially in the Middle East and Nigeria, where Dan was born of British Missionary parents.
The show is being broadcast by the Southern California based Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network and you can see some of the more recent programs by going to http://hsbn.tv/_demand/%5Bwindows-on-the-world%5D%20010.html and then click on one or each of them. You can also catch this week’s show by going to http://hsbn.tv/.
I asked Dan how the show came about and he explained that he had been invited to be the guest on a show called Holy Spirit Live on the HSBN Network that was founded by Bishop Andrew Bills, he was interviewed in their Orange, California, studio, about his rather extraordinary life by Pam Christian, who he had known for several years.
“After the interview, I felt the Lord prompting me to suggest that we could maybe start a new program called Windows on the World with Pam and myself talking about the main stories of the week on ANS, and Bishop Bills loved the idea and almost immediately, we began putting the shows together,” said Dan, who has been a full-time journalist since 1968 and has worked on some of Britain’s largest-circulation newspapers.
“It is a wonderful way to extend the reach of ANS with worldwide viewers who are learning about our amazing persecuted friends and starting to pray for them. Most of our stories are unique to ANS and many will cannot be read anywhere else.
“I urge you to start watching the program and also tell your friends about it.”
As if that wasn’t enough, Dan has also started another new program called Inside Hollywood with Dan Wooding, which features interviews with Christians in “Tinsel town” who are making a difference for Christ. It is also being broadcast in the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network.
Main Image: Dan Wooding making a point to Pam Christian during one of the latest shows.
Other Image: News You Can Use
Bio Image: Michael Ireland
About the Writer: Michael Ireland is a Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, as well as a volunteer Internet Journalist and Ordained Minister who has served with ASSIST Ministries and ASSIST News Service since its beginning in 1989. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia. Click http://paper.li/Michael_ASSIST/1410485204 to see a daily digest of Michael’s stories for ANS.
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