Proposed changes in a review of Faith Today’s “mission statement” have prompted the magazine’s managing editor to leave after three and a half years at the helm. Marianne Meed Ward told the Journal she feared the changes would compromise her journalistic principles after being presented with a list of “non-negotiables.”
She said the list, presented by Rev. Gary Walsh, president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) which publishes the magazine, included a directive to celebrate and present evangelism without undue concern with presenting opposing positions. Such a directive conflicts with her training, experience and temperament as a journalist, Ms. Ward said. It also compromises a journalistic principle to “print a variety of perspectives for and against a given subject and not to shy away from bad news.”
A Carleton University journalism graduate, Ms. Ward writes a weekly column for the Sun newspaper in Toronto. She joined Faith Today in 1989 and was news editor for five years before being appointed managing editor. She severed her connection with the magazine in early February. Ms. Ward said the parting was cordial. “I don’t consider I resigned even though I did make the decision not to accept the changes,” she said. “And, in a sense, he (Mr. Walsh) has every right as president to make these changes.” The Journal was unable to contact Mr. Walsh for comment. However, in a press release, Mr. Walsh said the parting came as the EFC began a review of its communications ministry, including Faith Today. “Every aspect of the ministry and structure of EFC has been, or is being, studied with a view to aligning our program with our mission statement,” he said. “After learning of the changes that likely will take place as a result of the strategic review, Marianne decided that it was her preference to seek other opportunities rather than implement a new direction for the magazine.” The EFC is an umbrella organization for 30 conservative denominations and groups.