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Crisis Publishing Initiative


Date: October 15, 2017 to October 18, 2017


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Information also available at www.crisispublishing.com.

Join Christian journalists, editors, publishers, and bloggers from around the world as we gather to discuss how best to meet the challenges of a world increasingly impacted by crises of all kinds, from terrorism to war to natural disasters.

In the midst of crisis, half-truths and wild rumors abound, sowing confusion and fear. People are buffeted on all sides by often false and ungodly messages.

We believe it is the responsibility of Christians to find and publish the truth and to offer the information and resources which make it possible for the church to respond as those called to be light and salt in the world. Christian publishers can report honestly and truthfully on conflict, provide practical help in dealing with the ramifications of disaster, and offer a biblical perspective on crisis. However, most of us do not have the tools we need to handle this responsibility skillfully and effectively.

The Crisis Publishing Initiative will equip Christians in publishing with the knowledge, skills, and resources we need in order to research, report, and publish responsibly in crisis situations.

Sponsored by

Lydia-Stiftung_Logo christianity-today-logo

What you'll learn

Session topics:

Plenary Session: The refugee crisis
It has been reliably reported that there are 59.5 million forcibly displaced people worldwide—the highest number ever recorded. The refugee crisis is now impacting many countries as desperate, needy, traumatized people fling themselves at the doors of often unprepared countries. Here is an accurate overview of the current situation of forcibly displaced peoples including refugees and internally displaced people.

Plenary session: Surviving crisis
Keys to surviving conflict and dealing with personal loss in the midst of crisis.

Plenary session: Identifying where God is working
Seeing the divine strategy and kingdom potential in the midst of upheaval. Learning how to look for points of grace and the finger of God in crisis.

Plenary session: Religious persecution
With estimates of the number of Christians killed for their faith last year ranging from 1,200 to 90,000, reliable information is needed. This analysis of the actual situation will reveal how different groups gather their statistics and help editors weigh the information they decide to publish.

Harnessing social media and video
Events are moving fast in the midst of crisis and when it’s important to get information out immediately the writer may have to switch to digital media. Here’s how to exploit your cell phone or computer to get your story out to the world as the crisis is unfolding.

“If it bleeds, it leads”—or is there a better way?
Sure, you cover the incidents of terrorism, atrocities of war, persecution, and the like. But, you may actually get better readership when you produce a more constructive analysis that doesn’t leave readers feeling just angry and helpless. But how can a small staff interview multiple sources and pull together the kind of information necessary to provide informed analysis? The answer is curation. Here’s how to curate information in a way that adds value while not stealing from other outlets in order to produce quality analysis that helps readers understand and deal with the underlying issues.

A fresh perspective on covering displaced peoples
This workshop presents a biblically informed view of forced displacement and a global perspective on refugee ministry. Through first-hand experience in a variety of international contexts, the speaker exposes a neglected lens through which to view the crisis of displacement and a fresh angle for journalists to consider in covering refugee ministry.

Resources for the church
Where to find critical information and resources which publishers can share through their publications in situations of crisis.

Coaching through crisis
Coaching through crisis: Guiding and caring for “War Zone” reporters (whether actual war or other crisis). How to come alongside reporters, guide the reporting process, maintain perspective, and help traumatized reporters.

Moving beyond the five “W’s”
Reporting your way through crisis. Covering corruption (which often accompanies crisis), human tragedy, and redemptive stories. Everyone is covering the crisis. How to think through what you can bring to the table in order to do the kind of reporting that sets you apart from the others.

Staying safe
How to cover a dangerous situation without an expensive security apparatus. How to handle your personal security to stay safe.

Witnessing redemption
How to interview and write profiles of people acting heroically in the midst of crisis.

Photographing crisis
You’ve seen them: Great photographs that in one simple frame capture the meaning of a complex event. Always they depict people living through a tragic event or caught in a circumstance from which they see no escape. Discover how to get memorable photographs that chronicle the event without dehumanizing the victims. And, we’ll discuss guidelines for gaining access and permissions, as well as ethical considerations when dealing with traumatized people.

Photo story: the art of visual narrative
The presenter will unmask the myth of the documentary photographer’s objectivity and discuss the responsibility and ethics of the photographer. You’ll learn how to create a narrative structure in a photo story or photo essay through post processing and sequencing. Discover the five types of photos that are needed to create a well-rounded photo story and explore examples of photo essays in the context of magazine publishing.

Covering the refugee crisis
The session will deal with how to prepare to cover the crisis and how to relate respectfully to traumatized people, helping them feel safe and in control. The session will also cover balancing the expectations and need for help of those on whom you report, protecting sources from retribution, and dealing with often uncooperative or overwhelmed government entities.

Reporting the Christian story
How to get accurate information from a Christian perspective about the crisis in your backyard out to publishers in other countries. Often Christians and churches are overlooked by the secular media when reporting on crisis. Here is information on how to bring a unique Christian perspective on the crisis and who to contact to get your story out to others.

Ethics of publishing
The role and responsibility of the publisher in reporting on crisis.

Reporting on ethnic conflicts
Reporting on conflicts between nations and ethnic groups. How to provide accurate, fair information in an unbiased manner (recognizing that no one can be completely unbiased). How to get close to the action to observe first hand without getting involved in the fight. How to locate reliable sources representing as many legitimate viewpoints as possible, while weighing the validity and accuracy of the information gained in order to provide a fair and balanced perspective.

Reporting on natural disaster
How to report on natural disasters, dealing with chaos, and getting the story without getting in the way. How to find reliable sources, craft the story, and get it to the editor.

How to leverage scarcity
You don’t have the finances and equipment of the major publishing and broadcast firms. But, you can leverage your own resources to produce quality work that rivals that of the “big players.”

Dealing with conflict
Even a small Christian organization can experience big conflict in the midst of crisis, with competing viewpoints and stretched nerves. Here are principles to help deal with conflict and bring the organization back into the balance you need in order to be productive.

The editor’s perspective
The editor has a responsibility to present a Christian perspective on the tragedy, in order to help readers who are buffeted by an onslaught of non-Christian viewpoints. How to influence readers and possibly help guide public opinion by providing reliable coverage of the crisis and compelling editorials.

Coping with the emotional impact
How to cover tragedy and human suffering while coping with the emotional impact of trauma on your own psyche.

Crisis at your doorstep
When your organization is the focus of crisis: How to deal with the effect of controversy and negative publicity about your organization and its editorial choices and policies.

Tools for covering crisis
Because of the immediate nature of many crises or the limitations imposed by crises, new tools are needed to cover and respond to crisis and to get information out or back to the publisher. Here’s an overview of tools and methods that can make a difference when timeliness is critical.

Killed in the line of duty
Every year in the last decade nearly 100 journalists and other media workers have been killed in the line of duty. Most have been killed in war zones or areas of conflict, but others have been killed in their own newsrooms by terrorists, representatives of hostile governments, or criminals. There are measures publishers can take to secure their own newsrooms and protect their staff.



Lydia Foundation

The German publishing foundation exists to encourage and strengthen Christian publishers, especially in Eastern Europe. The foundation sprang originally from the ministry of the German Lydia magazine, and is administered by the magazine’s founding publishers.

“We have known Sharon Mumper and Magazine Training International for many years and have the highest respect for the ministry. When we heard about the new initiative we knew we wanted to be a part of it and to support it.” —Ditmar and Elisabeth Mittelstädt, founders

Contributing Sponsors

Christianity Today

Christianity Today’s mission is to equip Christians to renew their minds, serve the church and create culture to the glory of God. In a world in desperate need of truth, goodness and beauty, Christianity Today strengthens the church by richly communicating the breadth of the true, good and beautiful Gospel.

“We have joyfully been in partnership with MTI for many years. Their commitment to quality journalism in the context of a living faith has resulted in hundreds of men and women being equipped to be Christ’s very voice in some of the most difficult settings in the world. It is for this reason that the Crisis Publishing Initiative makes such strategic sense at this time. And we at Christianity Today want to do all we can to help facilitate this timely vision—and expand the voice of Truth—through his committed messengers.” — Harold Smith, president and CEO, Christianity Today International

Coalition Partners

Evangelical Press Association

The Evangelical Press Association is a professional association of Christian publications — magazines, newspapers and newsletters — and content-rich websites. The purpose of the Evangelical Press Association is to strengthen evangelical periodicals through inspiration, instruction, and networking.

“It seems almost every day we hear of crises and tragedies occurring around the world. When we learned of MTI’s plans to host a Crisis Publishing Initiative in Europe, it made sense that EPA should become part of their coalition. We want to come alongside them and offer whatever assistance we can with the resources EPA has.” — Lamar Keener, executive director, EPA

Tyndale House Foundation

Tyndale House Foundation grew out of an underlying conviction that every person should have the opportunity to be confronted by the reality of the love of God as revealed in Jesus Christ. This conviction provides the impetus behind the Foundation’s basic purpose: To minister to the spiritual needs of people, primarily through literature consistent with biblical principles.

“We value the opportunity to be a coalition partner with MTI for the Crisis Publishing Initiative because we see it as another opportunity where we can pool the resources God has given each of us and invite Him to act.” — Mary Kleine Yehling, v.p., executive director, foundation@TyndaleHouseFdn.org

Humanitarian Disaster Institute

The mission of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute is to equip churches and faith-based organizations to prepare for the unthinkable, care for the vulnerable, and cultivate resilience in times of disaster. The mission is carried out both domestically and internationally through psychological research, training, and resource development. HDI focuses on: psychology of religion/spirituality disaster research; disaster ministry; disaster spiritual and emotional care; and refugee and trauma care.

“I was very excited to learn about the Crisis Publishing Initiative you are planning. I’d gladly welcome the opportunity to explore how HDI [Wheaton College’s Humanitarian Disaster Institute] and myself might help with this important work.” — Jamie D. Aten, Ph.D., associate professor, Wheaton College, founder & co-director, Humanitarian Disaster Institute

World Watch Monitor

World Watch Monitor reports the story of Christians around the world under pressure for their faith. We strive to be the most trusted and consulted source of news about Christians who suffer for their faith. World Watch Monitor editors commission journalists around the world to report on persecution, from breaking news to in-depth analysis. —Julia Bicknell, executive editor

International Christian Media Commission

The International Christian Media Commission (ICMC) is a small charity that provides opportunities for Christian media start-ups and projects to have a home in its early stages. ICMC focuses on learning and development for Christian media professionals, supporting them in their ongoing work by enabling partners to have confidence in their own skills and abilities to develop and deliver projects under their own leadership.

“Christian journalists face tough decisions and choices—especially in the Developing World The International Christian Media Commission is pleased to support the Crisis Publishing Initiative as it provides a space where we can come together and engage with the issues that we each face, offering support to those who are under pressure and insight to home audiences.” — Andew Steele, senior associate, ICMC Partners in Communication, United Kingdom


The mission of COMIX35 is to bring people to Jesus Christ through the visual storytelling media of comics. This unique ministry helps Christian communicators around the world spread the gospel through comics, the world’s most widely read form of popular literature.

“Because ‘comics’ are almost always used to convey life and death information around the world, e.g., airline safety cards on planes, fire safety and escape/exit posters in buildings, earthquake safety manuals in guest rooms, medical posters in hospitals, etc., we know comics play an important part in crisis publishing. So our ministry, COMIX35, has joined with MTI to promote the subject of crisis publishing internationally.” — Nathan Butler, president, COMIX35

At the conference


The conference will be held in Sopron, Hungary at the Hotel Löver.


Tuition includes conference sessions, Sunday supper, lunches, a banquet, and materials.

Lodging and meals

We were able to get an excellent price on a bloc of rooms for the conference. You will need to contact the hotel directly to reserve your room. Be sure to tell them you are attending the Crisis Publishing Initiative conference. Contact conference organizers at registrar@magazinetraining.com if you’d like to share a room and we’ll try to match you with a roommate.

Click here to reserve your room: Let’s go!

Cost of rooms (on half pension basis):

Single rooms: 44 Euros/night

Double rooms: 60 Euros/night

Use of pool, sauna, and jacuzzi are included in the rate. This is a spa hotel. A wide variety of other spa services are available for a very reasonable fee.

Who should attend

Both freelance and staff Christian writers, photographers, editors, and publishers of magazines, books, and blogs worldwide are invited to attend. We expect up to 100 Christians in publishing from more than a dozen countries will make the trek to Sopron, ensuring a rich time of fellowship and a wide variety of networking opportunities.

Are scholarships available?

A limited number of partial scholarships are available for participants from Eastern Europe, Asia, and the Global South. Apply now.

Will I need a visa?

Hungary is part of the Schengen Agreement. If your country is a member of the Schengen Agreement, you will not need a visa. Check with the Hungarian government to see whether people from your country need visas for Hungary. If you will fly into the airport in Vienna, you may also need a visa for Austria. Find out here.


Sunday, 15 October 2017

15:00 Registration opens

17:00 Reception

18:00 Dinner

19:00 Plenary session

Monday-Wednesday, 16-18 October 2017

08:30 Plenary session

09:45 Workshops

11:00 Coffee break

11:30 Workshops

13:00 Buffet lunch

14:30 Workshops

15:45 Coffee break

16:15 Plenary session

17:00 Optional evening sessions

Wednesday 18 October 2017

18:30 Closing banquet

Sign up for email alerts of everything you need to plan your trip.


A limited number of partial scholarships are available for participants from Eastern Europe, Asia, and the Global South. Apply now.

What’s included:

  • Sessions: five plenary sessions and 18 workshops led by experienced journalists, researchers, and security specialists.
  • Printed materials and resources.
  • Food: Sunday reception and dinner, lunches Monday-Wednesday, and closing evening banquet on Wednesday.

You will need to purchase your flight/transportation and lodging separately. Conference attendees get a discount from Hotel Lover. Book your room today, and let them know you are attending the Crisis Publishing conference to get a discounted rate. Book now!

Cost of rooms (on half pension basis):

Single rooms: 44 Euros/night

Double rooms: 60 Euros/night

Use of pool, sauna, and jacuzzi are included in the rate. This is a spa hotel. A wide variety of other spa services are available for a very reasonable fee.