As the Press Service International ministry focuses on ‘young writers’ (18-30s and then Over 31s) – the question is put, why are there ‘senior writers’ in the program.
Initially the senior writers came about within the young writer ministry when a number of the panellists who marked them for the annual awards spoke up wanting to encourage the young writers by writing columns of their own.
This made a great deal of sense, but we did not want to become overwhelmed with older faces when our focus was on young writers. To counter this anomaly we restricted the senior writer ranks to those within the system serving the young writers as coordinastors, editors or panellists.
The initial list were such people as – illustrations
Wayne Graham - Editor NZ Daily Encourager, NZ Panellist
John Yates - an Anglican missionary, International’s panellist
John Lemmon - ret accountant, interment preacher, Seniors Over 36s Panellist
Travis Barnes - a minister and young writer coordinator
Liz Hay - a ret professional editor and young writer coordinator
Aira Chilcott - a ret teacher and young writer editor
Phase 2 of senior writers
The situation arose where we had those a bit long in the tooth in the Over 31s and they were moved into senior writers.
The pattern was becoming mandated
18-30s - young writers
Those well and truly over 36
The philosophy became the rule - start in the young writers 18-30. Move into the Over 31s. Then gradually move into Seniors.
Phase 3 of senior writers
The next phase of senior writers occurred early in 2021 when the editor of Christian Today sought to maintain a younger aspect to our columns. In effect this meant not incorporating any additional older faces as senior writer columnists but to bring the more mature Over 31s through to senior writers.
This created another issue that Aira Chiclott raised – that these Over 31 young writers bought forward into senior writers would be excluded from the annual Awards.
This was rectified by adding a further group to the Awards – what we referred to as Over 36s Senior Writers
Now we had the following Award categories
Aust Over 31s
Internationals Over 31
Senior Writers (Over 36s)
2020 Winners of this Senior Writer group
Aust Seniors - Basil Sellers Award - David Goodwin, Melbourne
NZ seniors – Basil Sellers Award - Emma McGeorge
Internationals seniors - Josh Robbie – South Africa
Now there are 28 senior writers which combines the original older faces, the initial Over 31s and the latter Over 36s as the Over 36’s senior writers.
They fill the gaps between young writers in Weeks 1 and 2 - and - then Week 3 is the senior writer week. Week 4 are the NZ senior writers.
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 25 books, and enjoys writing. 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 Gutenberg’ - the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award. In September 2020 Summer Moore presented her commission portrait of Dr Mark Tronson holding the Gutenberg plaque. He and David Chang editor of Christian Today together bought the young writer ministry into fruition in 2009. In 2011 Mark established Laguna Quays Respite (Whitsundays) for missionary respite and replicated at Aldinga Beach 2016 (Adelaide) and Greens Beach Bass Straight (TAS). His ministry is honoured all these years by Christian philanthropist Mr Basil Sellers AM. He is married to Delma (44 years), with four adult married children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/dr-mark-t.html