media professionals must produce more than explicitly Christian
material in order to expand their impact and influence, said seasoned
journalist Carlos Briceno in his keynote address at Franciscan
University of Steubenville's first ever Faith and Media Conference.
The two-day conference gathered students, faculty and media professionals March 31-April 1. It sought to explore the role Christians play in the most powerful cultural force of our times—the mass media.
Briceno encouraged attendees to stay on fire with love for Christ by "evangelizing [themselves] everyday" and by not allowing fear or busy schedules to keep them from "laboring in the vineyard."
Briceno is the founder of Disciples With Microphones, an organization of professional journalists who use their skills to spread the Gospel.
He shared specific ways he has brought Christ into the secular media, including selecting faithful Catholics for interviews and allowing his faith to shape the focus of his reporting.
"Catechetical and religious materials are good, but we need to make more than explicitly Catholic materials," he said.
The conference also explored the topic, "Working in Christian Media" and "Maintaining Faith in a Secular Environment."
Franciscan University professor David Schaefer took a critical look at how faith and religion are portrayed in film. Before teaching at Franciscan, Schaefer worked as a producer and anchor in television and radio. He said the biggest challenge for Christian filmmakers is convincing Hollywood that movies can be both religious and successful.
The conference was the first of its kind in the Ohio Valley. It was the brainchild of senior communications major Valerie Striker, who suggested to professors that Franciscan host such a conference for Christian students.