The prestigious 2019 ARPA Gutenberg was awarded to the young writer ministry ‘Press Service International’ (in conjunction with Christian Today Australia) in Christchurch at a glittering awards presentation Saturday evening.
The Australasian Religious Press Association (ARPA) its premier award, The Gutenberg, each year at its annual awards dinner. ARPA’s retiring President Sydney’s Peter Bentley read the citation –
The 2019 Gutenberg Award
The Premier Award of the
Australasian Religious Press Association
is made to
Press Service International
Press Service International (PSI) is one of the ministries of Well-Being Australia (WBA) with a specialist role and focus on providing articles for the Christian press, particularly Christian Today Australia (CTA), as well other online publications. Originally established in 2005, PSI developed following Dr Mark Tronson’s appointment as a columnist for CTA in 2008, and with CTA’s interest in having a daily sports column focus in 2010, a group of young writers were gathered by Dr Tronson and CTA and a contribution policy developed that now covers other areas, including comment, culture and science.
The agreement between Christian Today Australia and Press Service International allows articles published in Christian Today to be reproduced by any other publication provided acknowledgement is given to Christian Today. This provides a wealth of material for a much wider range of publications, as well providing opportunity and experience for younger writers, as well as senior writers. Under Mark ’s oversight there is a team of editors and co-ordinators who bring the articles to publication and co-ordinate all the activities. Over 200 people have contributed articles through PSI, with more than 70 active writers in any year. Their own internal conferences and award events recognising excellence have been a cornerstone of the professional development of the ministry.
PSI articles aim to follow Christian Today's motto from Matthew 5:37; "Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes', and your 'No', 'No'’: straight forward writing with integrity. Young writers have been recruited from a wide range of backgrounds and countries and provide a range of viewpoints about everyday life and the ethical and theological issues of the day, and a helpful voice within the Public Christianity arena in Australia and New Zealand.
Press Service International is a New Zealand and Australian ministry with its two arms and ministry teams. PSI has enabled the mentoring of young writers as columnists, encouraging their involvement in professional organisations like ARPA, attending conferences and active involvement now in the ARPA executive.
I am pleased to award Press Service International the 2019 Gutenberg.
Dr Mark Tronson was bewildered with the announcement, totally unexpected considering the remarkable and acclaimed Christian media and wonderful Christian publication mastheads across Australia and New Zealand. Delma Tronson, his wife of 42 years was heard saying “This is you Mark, this is you” ….. It was unbelievable.
In response to The Gutenberg award, Dr Mark Tronson, who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years followed by 18 years of Life After Cricket, gave an explanation to the 10 year background of the young writers.
This was their 12th year at ARPA conferences and there was in those early years a bleating as to why the publications sent ‘grey hairs’ to ARPA and not see younger editors and writers attend. In some way, the young writer ministry was a response to this. David Chang the editor of Christian Today Australia and Christian Today New Zealand exclaimed – “Wow, Amazing, Congratulations”.
“This is as much our award as it is Mr Basil Sellers AM who has sponsored the young writers ministry since 2013 with annual financial awards and air fare scholarships for the young writers to fly to the conferences”
Sophia Sinclair the incoming ARPA President, who herself came through the young writer program, indeed as the Chief Editor 2015-16 highlighted Mark and Delma Tronson’s passion to see young people published internationally and having their ‘voice’ heard in the market-place of ideas.
The esteemed outgoing Executive Officer of ARPA Elizabeth Harris stated that in her first year 2012, on their way home at Wellington airport there was a 3-4 hour wait and she was alone. Mark and Delma called her over to join them – this exemplified their pastoral care and oversight.
There were 21 award categories such as
‘Best Feature – Single Author’
‘Best Faith Reflection’
‘Best Theological Article’
‘Best Cover Magazine’
and all the way through to the 2019 Best Publication which went to ‘NZ War Cry’.
Young writer Matthew Thornton wins Bronze in New Best Writer’
Kiwi young writer from Auckland Matthew Thornton an engineering student won a Bronze in the New Best Writer category.
Dr Mark Tronson asked NZ Panellist Christina Tyson (Salvation Army) to nominate the seven Kiwi young writers for the various award categories. One of the seven ‘got up’ for which we are delighted.
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.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html