Guidelines for Writers of Opinion Articles
Adventist Today (AT) publishes independent news and opinion media for and about the Adventist community around the world. It focuses on contemporary issues and events, and seeks to provide a free speech area for Adventists.* In view of its purpose, any article published by AT will fall within the following guidelines.
It is important to be clear that the following guidelines refer to writers of primary published materials, not the “Comments” feature or the Forum in which readers make comments about articles. At the same time, paragraph 5 will apply to AT publications of any kind.
1. Writers for AT will be respectful of the wide range of opinion and faith experiences among Adventists. They will express a particular viewpoint or views without the use of sarcasm, disdain, denigration or negative characterization of those who disagree or other viewpoints.
2. Articles published in AT will be written from the assumption that the readers of AT are primarily people of faith and it is not the purpose of the materials that AT publishes to convince the reader that Christian faith in general is fundamentally flawed or wrong. In other words, views and disagreements are within the “big tent” of Christian faith, not expressed from outside that perspective.
3. There is one primary exception to paragraph 2 above: Writers may express their personal journey away from the Adventist faith or the Christian faith in general, so long as they clearly state this perspective in the first paragraph of the article and own any statements expressing doubt in the Christian scriptures or basic Christian beliefs. The primary way in which such statements will be “owned” in published articles of this kind is for them to be stated in the first person. (“I came to believe … because …”) The editors will rewrite submitted material to conform to this guideline.
4. In general, articles should not primarily be direct responses to other articles or regular writers for AT, unless the editors develop a “Point/Counter Point” feature on a topic and expressly edit materials for this purpose. It is OK for a writer to express a viewpoint opposite to that expressed in another article published by AT, but the article should not begin with reference to a particular published item and should not include quotes from the other writer; it should stand on its own unless the editors specifically asked for a counterpoint approach. Submitted material will be rewritten by the editors to conform to this guideline.
5. AT will not publish material that may involve it in litigation having to do with defamation, copyright infringement or pornography.
These guidelines were voted by the governing board of the Adventist Today Foundation on August 25, 2013.
*Defined broadly and inclusively by AT, not in terms of official membership in a local congregation affiliated with a particular denomination.