This year brought its unique challenges but also included many important accomplishments here at Word&Way. Here are our top 10 highlights from the year:
10. In July, we celebrated 125 years of journalism ministry with a double-issue of our magazine. The world looks quite differently than it did in 1896 — as do the ways we report the news — but our mission remains the same as we bring you real news that leads back to the Good News.
9. We saw a record year of traffic on our website. Speaking of something we didn’t do 125 years ago, wordandway.org continues to grow. Visits to the site in 2021 were up 25% over last year, our previous high. In fact, our traffic this year was more than 2.5 times as much traffic as in 2019 and more than 7 times as much as in 2018.
8. We launched a new podcast, Dangerous Dogma. This show builds on the format of our award-winning podcast Baptist Without An Adjective. The impressive lineup of guests so far has included Allan Boesak, Kristin Kobes Du Mez, Lisa Sharon Harper, David Gushee, Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver, Jen Butler, Adam Taylor, John Fea, Jim Wallis, Randall Balmer, Nancy Ammerman, and many others. Listen wherever you get podcasts or at dogma.wordandway.org.
7. Our Editor-in-Chief was interviewed for multiple programs. Brian Kaylor did several TV, radio, and podcast interviews this year, including for a CBS News documentary, State of Belief, Crackers & Grape Juice, KY-3, and other programs.
6. We brought on two new part-time staff members. Beau Underwood joined the staff in May as vice president for external affairs and senior editor. And Jeremy Fuzy joined us in July as voices editor.
5. Our work was cited by numerous other news outlets. Among those who looked to us to inform their coverage of various issues were the Associated Press, Religion News Service, Christian Post, Inside Higher Ed, Church & State, Kansas City Star, Louisville Courier-Journal, Deseret News, Baptist News Global, and other publications.
4. Our Editor-in-Chief published several op-eds in other publications. One way we impact public conversations about faith, culture, and politics is through columns Brian Kaylor writes that prominent news outlets print. His pieces in 2021 included ones in Religion & Politics, Roll Call, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Kansas City Star, Louisville Courier-Journal, and elsewhere. His piece for The Tennessean was recently named as one of their most-read columns of the year.
3. In May, we launched a new subscriber e-newsletter, A Public Witness. This publication on the Substack platform brings our readers expert analysis and original reporting on issues of faith, culture, and politics. Subscribe today!
2. We were honored with 23 awards for our journalism. These included the Evangelical Press Association naming our magazine “best in class” for small magazines. We also received awards from the Associated Church Press, Baptist Communicators Association, and Religion Communicators Council for editorial, feature, and humor writing, along with podcasting, photography, magazine design, and more. Over the past four decades, we’ve been honored with more than 200 awards — with more than 70 in just the last three years. These awards provide proof of our commitment to provide you with quality Christian journalism.
1. We created a clergy sign-on statement encouraging vaccinations. As the delta variant surged through Missouri before rippling across the country, we brought clergy together (virtually) to encourage more vaccinations. More than 240 pastors from across Missouri and from more than 15 denominations signed the statement. It sparked media attention across Missouri and with national outlets like the Associated Press and USA Today. Such coverage helped get the word out for more people to hear that we should love our neighbors by getting vaccinated. The AP even wrote about our statement as an exception to how most pastors in the “Bible Belt” remained “silent” on the topic of vaccination. Many pastors who signed it also mentioned the statement to their congregations. And we’ve heard reports from multiple churches about how this helped sparked conversations that led members to get vaccinated.
It was quite a year. But none of this would be possible without the faithful support of our readers and donors. You can help us build on these accomplishments in the new year by giving today to support our journalism ministry.