The Press Service International young writer program in conjunction with Christian Today has a number of senior writers which seems something on an anomaly. The young writer program faced an issue – what happens when the young writers were no longer that young!
Answer - they became senior writers, so the senior writer program was initiated as a stepping stone out of the second tier, the Over 31s to 39, young writers (being a bit long in the tooth – as it were) and moreover, a concern that it was unreasonable that a 38 year old would compete with an 18 year old for the annual Basil Sellers Award.
But there was more to this that simply, young writers growing older. There was also a need to include some of the Panellists who marked the young writers. Some of these 'senior writers' also sought to write so as to encourage and support the young writers.
The obvious difficulty was that our focus is simply on young people being offered an international column once every five weeks.
It was not providing people of a more mature age the same opportunity – we'd be swamped with Ministers around Australia wanting their time in the sun (as it were), so there was also an arbitrary aspect to this.
The days available
There are five weeks in each Cycle with 3 or 4 senior writers in each week who are published in 2 slots on a Tuesday and a Friday of each week.
It is restricted to this simply because, as along with the -
a) Young writers,
b) Mondays and Fridays we have Christian News articles
c) Wednesdays has the weekly sport article
d) Kiwi and International young writers
Therefore the only days of the week available for senior writers are in effect, Tuesdays and Fridays. It's not rocket science, rather basic common sense. It is what is available, in other words, what's left.
Coordination is a constant
Senior writer and retired Barrister Gavin Lawrie sends out three reminders for each of the 5 weeks, multiply that by 4 senior writers each week - do the maths – this is over 100 emails to senior writers …. in any one’s language, that’s over the top.
A happy solution to this is for the senior writers ‘reminder mechanism’ to fall in line with the Kiwis and Internationals – where the reminders are set out for the week prior to the start of the following Cycle.
The senior writers were sent a discussion paper - none of them wanted to take on Gavin Lawrie’s role as coordinator under the same conditions, and so from Cycle 10 this year – in a few weeks time, all the senior writers will be sent a reminder for their article to be in a week prior to the start of Cycle 10.
By kick-starting this at the end of 2019, it will become the norm in 2020.
Week 1 - Jeremy Dover, Vic Matthews, Genevieve Wilson, Mark Rusic
Week 2 – Gavin Lawrie, John Lemmon, David Goodwin, Ron Ross
Week 3 - John Skinner, Russell Modlin, John Yates, Graham McDonald
Week 4 – NZ – Liz Hay, Susan Barnes, Daniel Jang, Grant Harris, Wayne Graham, Esther Koh, Christina Tyson
Week 5 - Aira Chilcott, Sheelagh Wegman, Ross Clifford, Rebecca Moore
Under this new ‘reminder’ system Week 5 will be swapped around a little and there will still be room for ‘special feature’ articles such as when Aira Chilcott wrote on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 10 mission landing on the moon.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award, The Gutenberg.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html