World Magazine is a print and Web publication that presents news from a Christian perspective. "We want to be tough-minded but warmhearted. We are dependent on God and independent of any political faction or interest group. We don't let advertisers influence news content. We don't print glorified press releases. We respect the office of president of the United States and submit to the ruling authorities instituted by God (Romans 13:1-6), but we will be critical when necessary—even with those whose policies we generally agree with. We criticize corruption, even when (sometimes especially when) it erupts among Christians." They state their circulation is larger than that of National Review, The Nation, The New Republic and Christianity Today. Marvin Olasky is the Editor.
It is part of a series of publications and journalistic institutions dating back to the 1940s. L. Nelson Bell returned to the U.S., from working as a medical missionary, and decided that "theological liberalism was threatening the very Presbyterian denomination that had sent him out as a missionary." In response, he formed the Southern Presbyterian Journal to report on ecumenical liberalism; Dr. Bell also started Christianity Today. By 1981, this organization also was producing childrens' publications, and the corporate name became God's World Publications, Inc.
World Magazine was started in March 1986, Joel Belz became the publisher, and, in 2001, spun off into a for-profit corporation owned by God's Word Publications, but reverted to not-for-profit, still under a separate board, in 2007.
World Journalism Institute
Belz, Olasky, Nick Eicher and Robert Case discussed, in 1998, for God's World Publications to have its own training school for Christian journalists. "Case, because of his interest, training and time, took on the responsibility to mount such a training program with the first classes to be held during the summer of 1999. The three fold focus for this journalism training would be World magazine, other Christian publications and the mainstream press." Six-month classes began in 1999 in Asheville, North Carolina. While they experimented with high school journalists, after Christmas 2000, they concentrated on college and post-college students.
Also in 2000, they explored a cooperative arrangement with The King's College (TKC) in New York City, an accredited Bible-based institution, working with TKC journalism teacher, Helen Matthews Smith, to see how a cooperative arrangement could be managed. They began with courses during vacation, opened a branch office at TKC, and then moved their headquarters there in 2006. 
According to Christianity Today, the original emphasis was on "directed reporting...which calls on Christian journalists to "report biblically," not objectively. Directed reporting was part of WJI's original mission "to form a new cadre of tough-minded, warm-hearted, expertly trained Christian journalists for a new generation." Changing to fit broader mission, Belz said it now teaches both secular objectivity in addition to directed reporting. "In the debate between creation and evolution, the evolutionist has to learn only one side of the story. A creationist has to learn both sides of the story. I would say that a Christian practicing journalism has something of the same task," he said.
A Christian professor of journalism, Terry Mattingly, who teaches at Palm Beach Atlantic University and writes a religion column for Scripps Howard News Service, criticized WJI on National Public Radio. He quoted from Olasky's textbook, Telling the Truth, which was the "The Bible condemns homosexuality so clearly that only the most shameless of those who twist Scripture can try to assert the practice's biblical acceptability. Biblical objectivity means showing the evil of homosexuality; balancing such stories by giving equal time to gay activists is ungodly journalism," and asked EJI has stopped using it. Case said Olasky's views were still taught, as an example of advocacy journalism, and told a student that objective reporting on gay marriage would not compromise her Christian values, Case replied, "I don't believe that as journalists of faith we have any obligation to bias our reporting on the homosexual movement or on gay marriages. I believe that good, honest, careful, balanced reporting can present both sides of that issue in a way and let God take care of the result. Case also said WJI uses other texts and instructors can disagree with Olasky. Belz said, however, that objectivity is humanly impossible and undesirable for the Christian journalist.
Christianity TodayEven though the two publications have the same ancestry, they clash. Christianity Today managing editor Mark Galli responded to criticism of its November 2004 editorial, which Belz said contains "the assumption that those of us who harp on abortion, homosexuality, and marriage have never given thought to issues like poverty and economic justice, to racism and minority rights, to war and international fairness, to healthcare and environmental issues." Galli responded,
Baloney. The only thing one can logically construe from our editorial is that the Christian public policy agenda is comprehensive. Nothing more, nothing less. Finally, Belz decries our caution about single-issue politics, and then repeatedly lists three issues (abortion, homosexuality, and traditional marriage) of ultimate concern. It's clear that all three arise out one main issue: the sexual revolution begun in the 1960s, but it's hard to see how these three issues are today one issue politically. And it's worth noting that many politicians agree with us on one or two of these issues, but disagree about the other one or two.Galli saw the key aspect of disagreement as
Despite the fact that abortion, homosexuality, and traditional marriage are qualitatively different than many other issues, there remain a host of prudential decisions about how to move the nation toward a more pro-life and traditional-family values. Incremental advances or all-or-nothing politics? Agreeing to civil unions to preserve the definition of marriage, or not? Federal marriage amendment, or leave it to the states? And so on. Even strongly conservative Christians disagree about many of these prudential matters.
For its editors, journalistic humility is God's perspective, and they try to distinguish between those situations where the bible is clear and where it is less clear. "We believe that our purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever—and forever begins right now. We like sex, within marriage. We're not amoral hedonists, but we're not stoic moralists either. We like the vines and fig trees God gives us. We read novels, go to movies, and listen to classical music but also jazz. We prefer ice cream to cotton candy. We cover movies, yoga, artists, and travel; we aren't Christians with rules against anything that's fun because God made fun, too."
In its 18 January 2003 issue, it ranked influential people in the pro-life movement. The content is not available free online. Jill Stanek was #30.
- WORLD tries to be salt, not sugar, World Magazine
- Editorial Profile, World Magazine
- History, World Journalism Institute
- Rob Moll (1 June 2004), "World Journalism Institute Changes Its Focus: Biblical objectivity replaced with mainstream objectivity in training of future Christian journalists.", Christianity Today
- Mark Galli (1 November 2004), "Single (Issue) Minded: World's Joel Belz criticizes Christianity Today for an editorial we never published—and never would.", Christianity Today