Tuesday, May 4, 2010

But What Happens when it's not cool ENOUGH?

Again, looking to Faith and Family Live for inspiration and it comes from Rebecca Teti's piece Big Love vs EWTN. Which dissects Barbara Nicolosi's interview about Christianity and the arts, particularly EWTN.

Here is what EWTN does well:

1) It focuses on prayer.
2) It introduces people to foregone Catholic figures such as Mother Angelica and Archbishop Fulton Sheen.
3) There is excellent live coverage and some of the documentary style pieces are great as well

Here is where EWTN could use some work:
1) Very low production value on children's programming and dramatic interpretations
2) Lackluster interview style shows.
3) Outdated programming

What is funny is that sometimes these good and bad points are both/and. Take for example the International Rosary that airs at 3:3o pm EST on weekdays is exceptionally beautiful. I can actually hear different prayers of the Rosary in languages from Greek to Japanese. However, it is incredibly outdated (it looks to have been filmed sometime around the early 1980s) and the production value is poor.

The children's programming is cringe-worthy. I find more quality programming from PBS and Nick Jr.

And while I don't expect Oprah style interview shows from EWTN, I am often disappointed by the interviews that are either so far over ones head or dumbed down as if to make one feel stupid. I many times wonder if the person being interviewed went through any type of "vetting" process. Many appear sick to their stomach about being on camera. Some ignore the camera altogether and give you the feeling you're intruding on a private conversation. Some PR skills are definitely needed.

But if you've ever watched a Papal audience or an event like the introduction to the year of Paul, you are seeing what EWTN could be. I am never let down in this area.

The point I am getting at here is that to be religious in media is not to be anti-secular, but to apply what is aesthetically pleasing in the secular media to the religious media to make something that is both interesting and spiritual at the same time.

While I agree with Hank Hill that ,"Our Lord and Savior doesn't need your help keeping people's interests," I also believe that if we are going out of our way to help educate both strangers to our faith and the faithful, we do have an obligation to grab their attention away from dangerous programming or too much secularity.

So, here's an idea to help. Donate to EWTN. They are on a shoestring budget, donations will help them to improve what needs improvement and keep going strong in area that are already healthy.

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