Journalism: The Liberal Art That Wasn't

Posted by Les Sillars on 6/29/18 9:00 AM

les sillarsRead Dr. Sillars' article for Touchstone Magazine here.

When I came to Patrick Henry College 16 years ago to teach journalism, I wasn’t quite sure where I fit at a liberal arts college. 

Most colleges group journalism with the social sciences, or perhaps regard it as a species of technical writing. PHC put me in the Government Department and hoped I’d figure it out.

Over time I realized that journalism is in a very real sense the liberal art that wasn’t.

It requires the talents of a storyteller, a historian, a philosopher, and a theologian; it requires a love of language and a commitment to truth; it is, in short, an exercise of the moral imagination.

This doesn’t make sense in a culture—and especially in our Christian subculture—that regards journalists with the same warm affection usually reserved for roadkill. But there is something profoundly noble and even sacred about the vocation of journalists, which is to see the world clearly and help other people see it clearly too.

I finally put my thoughts together in an essay for Touchstone Magazine. It's in the May/June issue. I hope you enjoy it.

Dr.  Les Sillars directs the Journalism Program at Patrick Henry College.  Besides his duties at PHC, Dr. Sillars writes and edits for worldmag.com, is Mailbag Editor at WORLD magazine. His first book, Intended for Evil: A Survivor's Story of Love, Faith, and Courage in the Cambodian Killing Fields, came out in October, 2016.

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Journalism Major CTA

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