What is news?
While this site also features commentary, interviews, and an occasional review, well over half of the 3,505 stories we have posted are news. So it’s rather important to understand what is and isn’t news.
A couple of elements make something “news.” News is recent, relevant to the genre, and, usually, unexpected.
This element of the unexpected is the most misunderstood element of newsworthiness. There’s a classic saying in newspaper circles: “Dog bites man isn’t news. Man bites dog is.” Applying this to our genre:
- If the Booth Brothers going out for their usual weekend of concerts, and their members are Michael Booth, Ronnie Booth, and Jim Brady, it’s not news. It’s expected. But if one of the members were different, it would be news.
- If David Phelps gets approximately thirty-two standing ovations at the next Gaither Vocal Band concert, it’s not news. It’s expected. If he’s ill and cannot sing that night, it would be news.
- If Tribute Quartet’s bus makes it through the weekend safely, it’s not news. It’s expected. If it burns to the ground, that would be news.
Yet the other day, it struck me that the single most newsworthy thing that ever happens in this genre is something that might strike us as the most expected and least newsworthy.
You see, Southern Gospel is an evangelistic genre of music. Every weekend, several hundred national groups and several thousand local groups are performing concerts and presenting the Gospel. Every weekend, hundreds or thousands of people are coming to saving faith in Christ. From the vantage point of eternity, it’s not that big of a deal if Adam Crabb or David Ragan goes from sharing the Gospel in one group to sharing the Gospel in another group. But sinners coming to saving faith in Jesus Christ is a very big deal.
That, after all, is the most unexpected thing that ever happens in this world. Because Adam and Eve sinned, and because we are their descendants, we are born sinners. That’s normal. The unusual is when God steps into eternity as one of us, lives a sinless life, atones for our sins, and makes a peace with God that we could never make on our own.
The normal is that we are a fast track to Hell. That’s how every human story begins.. The unusual is when God steps into our story and re-writes the ending.
That’s why the good news is the most important news of all.
One closing thought: Stories of temporal significance have their place. Let’s just keep them in perspective.