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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
TyndaleFoundationLogo Lydia-Stiftung_Logo
christianity-today-logo Logo_Stiftung

What you'll learn

Session topics:

Plenary Session: Turning the migrant crisis into an opportunity
The astonishing growth of the migrant population throughout the world over the last 50 years has been largely ignored by the popular press in the West, but is a cause for both despair and hope. Globalization and the break up of physical and spiritual empires have resulted in massive population movements, leading to our present migrant crisis. The speaker will explore implications for releasing and receiving countries and peoples, and point out likely future trends. He will highlight the inevitability of a continuing challenge in migration and suggest reliable sources of information and action plans to encourage Christians, challenge social attitudes, influence secular authorities, and impact society as a whole. Patrick Johnstone, author, “Serving God in a Migrant Crisis”

Plenary Session: Where is God in this crisis?
How does a journalist approach crisis from a Christian perspective? A Christian journalist tries to think like a Christian in regard to the issues raised by the situation. Understanding the theological basis of our faith, our knowledge of God and human nature, will help us to write better stories: narratives that include resilience as well as lament, and hope as well as critique. Dr. Miriam Adeney, professor, Seattle Pacific University

Plenary Session: Reporting religious persecution
In these days of shifting definitions, divergent statistics,  complex geo-politics, competing interests, contested narratives and suffocating propaganda, gathering reliable information can be exceedingly difficult. Yet reliable, credible reporting is precisely what is required. This session will consider the discernment, wisdom, understanding and courage required of writers and publishers seeking to be a voice for the suffering Church. Elizabeth Kendal, international religious liberty analyst and advocate

Plenary Session: Exploding the myths—the journalist in the fight against human trafficking
Human trafficking and modern day slavery is a worldwide crisis that has impacted virtually every country, from the poorest to the wealthiest. Here is an exploration of trends in human trafficking throughout the world and an overview of myths and facts that can trip up even the most dedicated journalist. The speaker will discuss the role of language in granting dignity to victims and survivors, building collaboration, and changing cultural norms and societal expectations. How the story is told is critically important, potentially effecting the way society views the issue. Follow up resources will be provided. Dr. Sandra Morgan, professor, Vanguard University, and director, Global Center for Women and Justice

The future of migration: Preparing for both the expected and the unexpected
Here is an exploration of how global politics, the civil war within Islam, water crises, global warming, and volcanoes may be expected to continue to affect migration patterns throughout the world. Audience participation is encouraged in an open discussion following the presentation. Patrick Johnstone, author, “Serving God in a Migrant 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. Julia Bicknell, executive editor & director, World Watch Monitor

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 avoid being pulled into the conflict at a time when media are increasingly targeted. 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. Julia Bicknell, executive editor & director, World Watch Monitor, together with Asif Aqeel, newspaper journalist & World Watch Monitor correspondent

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. Julia Bicknell, executive editor & director, World Watch Monitor, together with Asif Aqeel, newspaper journalist & World Watch Monitor correspondent

How to leverage scarcity
You don’t have the finances and equipment of the major publishing and broadcasting firms. But, you can leverage your own resources to produce quality work that rivals that of the “big players.” Julia Bicknell, executive editor & director, World Watch Monitor, together with Joseph Benjamin, editor & publisher, Gujarati Christians magazine

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. Julia Bicknell, executive editor & director, World Watch Monitor, together with Asif Aqeel, newspaper journalist & World Watch Monitor correspondent

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.

Global trends in religious liberty
Persecution throughout the world is escalating, millions of Christians live with gross insecurity, and the concept of religious freedom as a universal human right is being challenged. This workshop will show how global trends have converged to create the “perfect storm” that forms the context for today’s escalating persecution. Elizabeth Kendal, international religious liberty analyst and advocate

Understanding the Middle East
An analyst and a journalist, both authors of books on the crisis in the Middle East, discuss the situation from the perspective of geopolitics and the people directly affected by war, persecution, and migration.  Elizabeth Kendal, author, “After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East” together with Mindy Belz, editor, World magazine, and author, “They Say We Are Infidels”

Staying safe: How to cover a dangerous situation without an expensive security apparatus.
Journalists are often focused on the story and can easily fail to consider questions of security. In this session you will learn how to prepare for a safe journey and successful return. And, you’ll discover the skills and resources freelance journalists can use to identify risks and mitigate their impact. Andrew Steele, senior associate, ICMC Partners in Communication

Reporting under pressure
The need to meet deadlines, offer colorful accounts, and provide the best, most compelling angle can place writers, photographers, and editors under pressure when reporting on crisis. Here are some cases for journalists and publishers to consider and learn from. Andrew Steele, senior associate, ICMC Partners in Communication

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. Gary Gnidovic, designer, photographer

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. Gary Gnidovic, designer, photographer

A fresh perspective on covering displaced people
Here is 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. Tom Albinson, president, International Association for Refugees

“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. Jeremy Weber, senior editor, Christianity Today

Covering the refugee crisis (respectfully)
Journalists need to interview refugees. Local humanitarian workers know the refugees best. Seems obvious; but it’s harder to partner well than it sounds. How can refugee experts help reporters find the powerful quotes and anecdotes they need to move their busy, weary readers to action, without exploiting the refugees they serve? How can reporters obtain the information they need at the (unfortunately) fast pace they need it, yet relate respectfully to traumatized sources and help them feel safe and in control? Learn what International Association for Refugees president Tom Albinson wishes journalists would do differently, as well as what Christianity Today senior news editor Jeremy Weber HAS learned to do differently based on interviews in eight refugee camps in Iraq, Lebanon, and Greece. This session will cover how to balance the needs and expectations on both sides, as well as protecting sources from retribution, dealing with uncooperative or overwhelmed government entities and humanitarian organizations, and telling refugees’ stories in ways that break through the Internet’s information overload to connect with readers’ minds and hearts. Jeremy Weber, senior editor, Christianity Today together with Tom Albinson, president, International Association for Refugees

Moving beyond the “who, what, when and where” in reporting
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. Mindy Belz, senior editor, WORLD Magazine

Secondary Trauma: When stories hurt
Reporters, journalists, and photographers all help to share the world’s most pressing news. But while covering the stories of disasters, atrocities, and suffering, we expose ourselves to a degree of secondary trauma. Over exposure to extreme human conditions can lead to compassion fatigue and burnout. This workshop will cover concepts of secondary trauma, how to detect signs of burnout, and preventative skill-building exercises. Jenny Hwang, program manager, Humanitarian Disaster Institute

Covering Disasters: Rethinking Large-Scale Trauma through the Lens of Faith, Resilience, and Justice
Reporting about disaster has never been more challenging. This workshop shares evidence-based findings on resilience before, during, and after disaster and how religious faith is crucial long-term. It also discusses why we need to be thinking about disasters as a pressing justice issue. It will discuss the types of questions reporters need to be asking during and after disasters, and how to shape stories that reflect the complexity of these realities. Laura Leonard, communications specialist, Humanitarian Disaster Institute

Leadership principles for transformational journalism
Can God use a writer or publisher to transform society? There is solid evidence that God not only can, but has used writers to initiate cataclysmic changes in their world. The president of the 21st Century Wilberforce initiative will demonstrate how writers and publishers in both England and the United States were significant forces in abolishing slavery. He will show how journalists can use leadership principles to prepare their culture for transformation, with the issue of religious persecution as an example. Dr. Randel Everett, president, 21st Century Wilberforce Initiative

Case study: Publishing a Christian magazine in a Muslim majority country 
Gökhan Talas , co-founder & publisher, Miras Publishing Ministries

Case study: Publishing in the midst of communal fanaticism, fake nationalism and religion based persecution
 Joseph Benjamin, editor & publisher, Gujarati Christians magazine



Lydia Stiftung

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

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

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

Stiftung Christliche Medien

SCM is a German Christian foundation formed to help and inspire the role of Christian media as a means and tool of the Gospel. The SCM publishing group includes four Christian book and music publishing houses and a Christian magazine publisher with 15 magazines and Internet ministries. We serve under the vision “together for the One who counts,” with the motto “inspired life, contagious faith.”

“We sponsored the conference because we know and treasure the work of Magazine Training international and want to help train and inspire Christian journalists and authors to give their best for Jesus.” — Ulrich Eggers, CEO and Publisher, SCM Verlagsgruppe

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

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 Media Project

The Media Project is a network of mainstream journalists who are Christians pursuing accurate and intellectually honest reporting on all aspects of culture, particularly the role of religion in public life in all corners of the world. It welcomes friends from other faiths to such discussions and training.

“The Media Project is a global network of journalists who care about high quality journalism, particularly on the topic of religion. We believe Christian people should be involved in reporting, writing and publishing. So we are grateful to MTI for hosting this valuable seminar.” — Paul Glader, executive director, The Media Project


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 block of rooms for the conference. Only a few rooms are available so we asked the hotel to hold the remaining rooms for us. We are the only ones able to make a reservation for the hotel during the conference dates. You will need to contact us directly, at mti@magazinetraining.com, to reserve your room. If you’d like to share the expense of a room with a roommate we assign, please mention this in your email.

Send us an email to reserve your room.

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.

Getting to the Hotel

The closest airport to Sopron is the Vienna International Airport. However, if you must get a Hungarian Schengen visa, you may need to arrive in Budapest. Check with the embassy before purchasing your flight.

If you arrive in Vienna:
You may take the train from the Vienna airport to Sopron, transferring at the Hauptbahnhof (Main Train Station) in Vienna. Friends of the ministry will meet you in the airport and help you get on your way to the conference. We will send a taxi to the Sopron train station to pick you up.

If you arrive in Budapest:
You may take the train to Sopron from the Keleti Train Station in Budapest. When you arrive at the Budapest airport, a volunteer will meet you and help you get to the Keleti Train Station. We will send a taxi to the Sopron train station to pick you up.

More details are available when you register for the conference.
Check the train schedule

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
14:30 Registration opens
16:30 Reception
18:00 Dinner
19:30 Plenary session

Monday, 16 October
08:30 Plenary session
10:15 Workshops
11:15 Coffee break
11:45 Workshops
12:45 Buffet lunch
14:30 Workshops
15:30 Coffee break
16:00 Workshops
18:00 Supper
19:00 Optional evening sessions

Tuesday, 17 October
08:30 Plenary session
10:15 Workshops
11:15 Coffee break
11:45 Workshops
12:45 Buffet lunch
14:00 Free Time

  • Sightseeing/shopping outings
  • Participant-organized affinity groups
  • Speaker interviews

18:00 Supper
19:00 Optional evening sessions

Wednesday 18 October 2017
08:30 Plenary session
10:15 Workshops
11:15 Coffee break
11:45 Workshops
12:45 Buffet lunch
14:30 Workshops
15:30 Coffee break
16:00 Workshops
18:30 Celebration banquet/Hungary night


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. We are the only ones able to make a reservation for the hotel during the conference dates. You will need to contact us directly, at mti@magazinetraining.com, to reserve your room.

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.