NASHVILLE (BP) – Baptist Press continued to bolster its reporting with the hire of Timothy Cockes as staff writer, beginning this week.
Cockes, 25, has served as an intern and freelance writer for BP and other media outlets stretching back into his days as a student at Liberty University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in journalism.
He is the latest among new faces on the BP staff. George Schroeder, award-winning journalist and longtime USA Today reporter and columnist, arrived early in 2020 as associate vice president for convention news, and in December Scott Barkley, former editor of The Christian Index, joined BP as national correspondent. The BP reporting team also includes award-winning staff writer Diana Chandler.
“I was so impressed with Tim when he first came to Baptist Press as a summer intern a few years ago,” said BP Managing Editor Laura Erlanson. “Even as a student, his reporting and writing skills were a great benefit to BP for the few weeks he was with us.
“As a lifelong Southern Baptist, Tim has a great grasp of SBC life and the kinds of stories BP readers want and need. I am thrilled to have him as a permanent part of the team.”
At Liberty, Cockes wrote for The Liberty Champion, the student newspaper, where he was named best sports reporter once and best news writer twice. He has also served as an intern through GenSend of the North American Mission Board and with the Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia. At the SBCV, Cockes produced stories through the convention’s magazine, the Proclaimer. Before arriving at BP, Cockes was a writer for the Liberty University Office of Communications and Public Engagement.
“I’ve known Tim for about 21 years, and one of the things I’ve always appreciated about him is he has a heart for the Lord and a heart to tell God stories,” said Brandon Pickett, associate executive director for the SBCV. “When you match those up, it’s a powerful combination. It was great to mentor him and see him grow spiritually as well as a reporter.”
Before joining Gordon College as associate professor of communication arts, Chris Underation was associate professor of digital media and journalism at Liberty, where he saw Cockes mature as a student and journalist.
“The thing that is outstanding about Tim as a writer is that he is technically good, but he also sees the story that he is covering through the lens of faith,” Underation said. “This makes even the typical stories he does atypical, in that his work seems to have an extra gravity to it.
“As a student, Tim was very focused on his faith, and he and I had conversations about the necessity of being fully focused on serving God and also fully focused on excellent reporting. This is something that I think makes him a great fit for BP because this is exactly its purpose –and it is also Tim’s calling.”
In his first week Cockes has already added to his previous list of Baptist Press bylines, only no longer as a freelancer.
“I feel incredibly honored to be joining the team at Baptist Press,” he said. “I have always admired the work BP does in telling stories of God’s work among Southern Baptists, and I’m excited to play a part in telling those stories. I couldn’t think of a better place to start my career or a better team to be on.”