New York Times reporter discusses the ministry of journalism

Ivan Penn shared about culture and accountability.


Photo by Corrie Myhr

New York Time’s journalist Ivan Penn gives an address for the Celebration of the Arts and Media.

Hannah Larson, Freelance Writer

The New York Times energy correspondent Ivan Penn attended a dinner and gave a keynote address as part of the Celebration of Arts and Media to the Department of Digital Journalism and Media faculty, students and visitors about rejecting fear and speaking truth in a culture of greed and power. Penn said the goal of Christians and journalists are the same: to care for culture by telling the truth.


During his dinner address, Penn encouraged student journalists not to be paralyzed by fear, but allow themselves to be led by God. He called on students to be courageous and follow God’s direction, rejecting a spirit of fear. Instead of waiting for God to push them out of their comfort zone, Penn directed students to step out in faith.


During his keynote address, Penn described his work as a correspondent seeking truth as a threat to a culture of greed and power. He defined journalism as the mission of holding public figures accountable to those they serve. Penn highlighted Jesus’ example as someone who went counter to cultural norms and held fast to truth. 

Penn acknowledged the tension that is present in culture and called for a more informed society that engages with dissonance and disagreements. He said that as a journalist, he wants people to be able to make informed decisions and be aware of problems and disputing views in the world.


Penn detailed threatening calls and legal tangles that have come about because he has sought to find and report the truth. He recalled asking God to get him out of journalism because of the challenges he was facing. At one point, there were police officers parked outside his home for protection. Looking back on those struggles, Penn came to see his work as a reporter as ministry because he was uncovering the truth. 

Penn will be giving an address at the Biola Hour chapel in Sutherland Auditorium on Oct. 22 about journalism as a calling. 


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