Church news outlets struggle to keep their editorial independence

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(RNS) As denominational news services contend with fiscal challenges that have beset secular media as well, church press officials worry these outlets have lost their editorial independence and are increasingly performing public relations roles for their denominations.

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  • As the first woman to be Editor of The United Methodist Reporter (2000-2005), I can attest from firsthand knowledge that the decline of genuine journalism in denominational publications has been going on since the mid-1990s. In fact, the pressure to publish only “pabulum” was why I left UMR in 2005 after a change in senior management, and why I joined The Progressive Christian’s predecessor, Zion’s Herald. It is also why I founded United Methodist Insight ( in 2011 prior to the 2012 General Conference after the recession forced the suspension of TPC.

    After these experiences, it’s my considered opinion that denominational officials want to choke off authentic journalism lest the masses see how badly their institutions are faring. Blind obedience to crumbling institutions, not factual truth, is the goal of most denominations today. Alas.

  • The United Church of Christ’s independent news tradition has carried on through its news portal, which features several new stories each day, thanks to News Director Connie Larkman and her team. We have managed to stay relevant and continue telling the news stories of the UCC.

    Barb Powell
    Association Director
    Communication Office, UCC

  • BTW, we also utilize our weekly Keeping You Posted e-blast to push the news to readers across the denomination.

  • Readers interested in the still-independent United Church News can access it at