Those who have spent some time in the Boy Scouts or the Girl Guides are familiar with the ‘Everywhere we go’ song. Typical campfire song with a leader and chorus chant, largely repetitive. “Everywhere we go, people always ask us, who we are, where do we come from”. This little ditty from my faraway childhood days kept playing in my mind as I was thinking about this editorial.
I work at Beacon Media – Newsbook and 103 Malta’s Heart. Work is an understatement. Live here is more like it. These premises have seen the better part of my life and my career. So what keeps me here? What keeps me coming back for more? Is it the pay, the luxurious working conditions, the inordinate amount of free time? Hardly.
People always ask us…
…what is your ethos? The Merriam-Webster, an eminent lexicon, defines the word ‘ethos’ as “the distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group, or institution”. Other dictionaries amplify on this, describing it as a set of beliefs, ideas, etc. about the social behaviour and relationships of a person or group. Fine. All high falutin’ descriptions. But I feel that the essence lies in the etymology of the word ‘ethos’. It comes from the Greek, as you may have known or guessed. Ethos indicates a natural disposition, unlike pathos, also Greek, which indicates an emotional state. Ethos, therefore, is permanent, durable, something to build upon.
It was this tiny five-lettered word which captivated my spirit all those moons ago. At once impalpable and yet tangible, ethos is not a ‘thing’, but its absence makes anything a nothing. Taking the conceptual ‘ethos’ to a human level, ethos may be likened to character and personality.
Who we are
For me, the media of the Church in Malta is characterised by bravery born out of integrity. The ability to tell truth to power, whether that power resides in the hallowed halls of the auberges, in the sleek boardrooms of the moneyed or in the less august but perhaps more pernicious keyboards of trolls. This integrity is based on an incessant search for the truth, believing always in the innate goodness of humankind. Because of this belief, that humankind is made in His image and likeness, our media, the media of the faithful, must strive to help people distinguish between good and evil in the various forms these take: when the good is the difficult choice and when the evil is seemingly self-righteous and justifiable. We need to foster critical thinking in a society where time for thought is lacking or even frowned upon as non-conformist.
Where we come from
As a Catholic medium we are bridge builders, dismantlers of fortified bastions of prejudice and injustice. We are open to dialogue and sincere communication which listens before it imparts, which experiences before it preaches. As Pope Francis said to the Catholic Press Association a few weeks ago: “We need men and women of conviction who protect communication from all that would distort it or bend it to other purposes.” This mandate is supported by the tenet of fairness, an inherent characteristic which is fundamental to our ethos.
And we always tell them
In an age marked by the transient and the ephemeral our ethos is grounded solid values based on the belief of the sanctity of life in all its stages and forms. From the issues relating to human life to those relating to the life of our planet, our ethos is to pass on the message that freedom is the freedom to do what is right. Not what is easy. Not what is convenient. In all this however, we realise the importance of compassion, leaving judgement in His hands alone.
We are Newsbook and 103 Malta’s Heart
We are not owned by big business. Nor are we owned by a political party.
We are owned by the Church. Like big business and political parties the Church has an agenda. This is based on the values enshrined in the Gospel and the Church’s social teachings.
We are not impartial. We take sides. We take the side of the poor, the vulnerable, the persecuted, the discriminated and those who suffer unjustly. We strive to be their advocates.
We are fair. We do not suffocate voices, barring the incredible amount of rudeness that seems to pass fashionably for comment.
We are not balanced. Bothside-ism is not part of our journalism, but fairness is.
We are truthful. We say things as we believe them to be after as much research as possible. We do our best to be as accurate as possible.
We can be trusted.
This is what marks us out, the seal set upon the hearts of those who work at Beacon Media, those who follow Newsbook and 103 Malta’s Heart. And to those who find this ethos disturbing, those who do not seek liberty but are libertines, those whose guiding light is hedonism rather than doing the right thing, we finish singing the song:
“And if they cannot hear us, We’ll sing a little louder”