August 5th, 2008 11:38 EST
Video Game Epidemic:What The Hell!
Getting Serious About Gaming," an in-depth report about the impact of video games on families and the culture, will appear in the August edition of 28 Christian newspapers as part of an ongoing collaborative project. The participating newspapers represent a combined distribution of 557,000 copies in 22 states and Canada.
The project, coordinated by Lamar Keener, publisher of the Christian Examiner newspapers and the Minnesota Christian Chronicle, involved 18 separate newspaper groups, including one translated into Russian. All are members of the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, an affinity group within the Evangelical Press Association. In all, FCN represents about 40 regional Christian newspapers in the United States and Canada.
Russ Jones, publisher of The Chronicle Newspaper and president of FCN, said the newspapers decided to tackle the topic because of the widespread influence electronic games have on the culture. He publishes newspapers in Kansas, Colorado, Indiana, Texas and Tennessee.
"Today`s youth spend untold hours playing violent video games," Jones said. "This addictive behavior is not confined to economic class or race. It fosters dependence and social isolation."
In his article, nationally recognized Christian journalist Steve Rabey, reports that "Grand Theft Auto 4" the most recent big name game release earned more than $500 million in the first week of sales. Annually, video games combine for $9.5 billion in sales.
"Aside from the violence, obscenity and negative themes, the larger and greater problem lies in the fact that video games control many people`s hearts and minds, creating a monotonous, zoned-out, new reality," youth Pastor Kody Kirchhoff, of Calvary Lutheran Church in Omaha, Neb., told Rabey.
In May, the newspapers gained national attention among various news agencies, including Fox News, USA Today, Religion News Service and the Moody Broadcasting Network for Rabey`s story, "Oprah`s Gospel," their first cooperative effort which examined the spiritual beliefs of the popular entertainment mogul.
"Racks were empty all over town with the Oprah story on the front cover," Jones said. "Many of the major newspaper publishers benefit from large editorial departments that we simply don`t have, and this kind of collaboration allows us to produce well-researched, investigative reporting our readers want."
In addition to the joint writing projects, FCN members participate in frequent online interaction sharing technical, business and philosophical ideas. The group also participates in national advertising buys. Each spring, FCN presents an award for Christian Newspaper of the Year and various other writing awards.
Click here for a full version of the article, " Getting serious about gaming."
B.C. Christian News -- Vancouver, British Columbia
Blue Ridge Christian News -- Asheville, North Carolina
Choice News (Russian) -- Southeastern Pennsylvania
Christian Examiner -- San Diego Co., Orange Co., Los Angeles Co., Inland Empire (Southern California); Seattle/Tacoma, Washington
Christian News Northwest -- Portland, Oregon
The Chronicle Christian Newspaper -- Wichita, Kansas; Denver/Colorado Springs, Colorado; Dallas, Texas
Citizen USA -- Ohio
The Desert Voice -- El Centro, California
The Good News in South Florida -- Broward County, Palm Beach County, Miami/Dade County (Florida)
The Good News Today -- Rhode Island, Massachusetts
The Heartland Gatekeeper -- Nebraska, Iowa
Home Times Family Newspaper -- West Palm Beach, Florida
Kansas City MetroVoice -- Kansas City, Missouri
Living Stones News -- Duluth (MN), Sioux Falls (SD)
Minnesota Christian Chronicle -- Minneapolis/St. Paul
Ozarks/Branson Christian News -- Missouri, Arkansas
Tri- State Voice -- New York City, New Jersey
Wisconsin Christian News -- Northern Wisconsin, Upper Michigan