By Tanner Royalty, student news writer
|Renee Shaw, a journalist with Kentucky Educational Television, speaks at Campbellsville University’s chapel service in Ransdell Chapel. (Campbellsville University Photo by Rachel DeCoursey)
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – “I’ve been ordained for this purpose, to help people through journalism. It is my God given earthly assignment.”
Kentucky Educational Television journalism Renee Shaw spoke at Campbellsville University’s weekly chapel service on Nov. 28 in Ransdell Chapel. Shaw serves as a KET producer, writer, journalist and host.
Shaw spoke on how she uses her job as a platform to help the “least of these” throughout the state. She said, “I don’t practice a cafeteria style Christianity where I can pick and choose what I do, and when I do it.” Within her message, Shaw used Matthew 25:40, “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”
Shaw said, “God is way more concerned with our character than our career.” She pointed out that if we work on our vertical relationship with God and place that first then our horizontal relationships with those around us will be better as well. She said, “God has our backs vertically.”
Shaw encouraged students to impact and change lives through their career fields. She said, “We can bring change through journalism and media or even other career fields. We should help the outsider, hopeless and helpless.” She reiterated that she strives to make a positive impact, because that is the opportunity journalism has offered her.
“What I have learned, and it’s taken me a while to gain this perspective, is that there’s tremendous liberty and freedom in what God has ordained me to do,” she said. “And, with each interview, policy discussion or story, I understand who I am and my relation to humanity and Christ in the process.”
She said she grew up as the only African-American in her class through kindergarten through 12th grade.
She said being different prepared her for dealing with similar environments even to this day.
“And what’s more,” she said, “it stoked a commitment to understanding other folks who feel marginalized, or outcast, without demonizing those we may consider to be the oppressors.”
She said her New Year’s resolution is to investigate more the issue of poverty and tell the story of some 27 percent of Kentucky children, more than one in four, who live in impoverished households – the 52 percent of Kentucky children who are on free and reduced priced meals at school.
“It is my goal to leverage a productive conversation about poverty that’s not riddled with race-baited language about ‘those people’ and ‘welfare queens’ and moochers and slackers,” she said.
“What is important is that we get to the real truth about why jobless numbers are higher than the national average in rural and Appalachian communities and communities of color,” Shaw said.
She said Kentucky has the fifth highest poverty rates in the nation, and Kentucky can “ill afford to shelve a real and robust conversation about poverty, especially considering one third of our households earn less than $25,000 a year.”
“This is where we need wisdom, truth and grace,” she said. “Jesus says we shall always have the poor among us, but he does not leave that declaration as an excuse to allow more to fall in poverty’s grip.”
Shaw concluded by simply saying, “Go bless someone’s life.”
|With Renee Shaw, third from left, journalist with Kentucky Educational Television, are, from left: John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president; Dr. Michael V. Carter, president; Shaw; Dr. Twyla Hernandez, assistant professor of Christian ministries; and Ed Pavy, director of campus ministries. (Campbellsville University Photo by Rachel DeCoursey)
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,600 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.