Assets (our readers!) and deficits

Fireworks from Fireworks from

Did you know you are reading an award-winning publication? This past month the Associated Church Press presented Anabaptist World with an Honorable Mention for our letters to the editor and an Award of Merit for “Pregnant amid the abortion fights” by Joseph Penner (Aug. 5). 

These awards belong to you, our readers. Every submission (see our ­latest call for submissions on page 2) and every letter helps the editors   piece together good content for each issue. 

Each reader is a vital contributor to our work. Your responses and ideas help us pull together a picture of the Anabaptist world, and AW is better for it. 

One of the honors of my work is getting to rub elbows with writers and editors from other religious publications. The annual Associated Church Press conference is one of those places. This year’s conference was the first one I’ve attended.

True to my extroverted personality, the gathering gave me energy and ideas to bring back to our work together. We learned about topics like the decline of religious participation in the United States, the challenges of social media trends and the potential of using a solutions journalism framework.

Solutions journalism is a movement that focuses on what the news misses most often: how people are trying to solve problems and what we can learn from their successes or failures.

One idea I’m still processing is the difference between deficit framing and asset framing in writing articles. This addresses how a writer can frame a story by deciding to highlight the negative or the positive. 

Good journalism doesn’t hide deficits. But asset-or-deficit framing can create a false dichotomy. 

Often, in the pursuit of good journalism, deficits take priority. Unintentionally, a writer’s deficit framing can contribute to one-dimensional stories that perpetuate stereotypes or half-truths. 

The challenge, then, is to reflect on how we are framing AW stories and how we can improve. I’m biased; I think we do a pretty good job already, but I’m sure there is room to grow. 

If you notice other places where we have room to grow, please let us know. Input from readers is part of what makes AW special. It’s not just me saying that. The ACP judges thought so, too. 

Danielle Klotz

Danielle Klotz is executive director of Anabaptist World. She lives in Goshen Indiana with her partner Nata and their sons Read More

Sign up to our newsletter for important updates and news!