As you may know, one of Nyack College’s core values is being Globally Engaged. Because I’m a Communications major, this value means a lot to me and I think it’s important we educate ourselves on the world’s affairs as well as know how to properly engage in them.
When I think of being Globally Engaged, I think of missions trips, Global Service-Learning trips (who just released their 2017 trip schedule!), and the influx of nationalities that attend Nyack every year. However, we can also be Globally Engaged from right where we are sitting, and the first step is educating ourselves on other parts of the world, their cultures, and how they interact with each other. The media is one of the best ways we can study these things. Not every nation’s media system works the same as the United States’. For instance, newspaper circulation is relatively low here; whereas, newspaper is becoming an increasingly used medium in Africa and Latin America due to their growing middle class and literacy rates. (Thank you, Mass Media and Society class.) China’s media is changing all the time and at high volumes, so visiting a country like China would require one to stay on their toes pertaining to how people get their information and what is relevant.
So if someone wanted to travel to Sudan and spread the Gospel, it would be helpful to know that more people receive their news through print materials like newspapers as opposed to television – which is not nearly as popular as it is in the States. Therefore, the missionary saves both time and resources by knowing what the most effective ways are to use the media and to get information out. Therefore, they are not just talking yet having no one hear them, they are using the most effective forms of media to get out information about Jesus quickly and effectively.
This isn’t something most people think of when they imagine traveling to different countries. They prepare to learn different languages, exchange currency, and even brush up on the country’s culture and foods so they know what to expect. But learning about how the media works in said country is usually an afterthought, if it is even a thought at all. It’s important that we, as representatives of Christ, don’t go out there proclaiming His name but being misinformed or ill-informed about the best ways to do it. The media is one of the most powerful tools of information dissemination we have today – after word of mouth, and learning how to handle it properly is essential.