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‘Left Behind’ author Jerry Jenkins to speak at Baptist Press student journalism conference

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Jerry Jenkins, coauthor of the best-selling “Left Behind” book series, will be the keynote speaker for the third annual Baptist Press National Journalism Student Conference Oct. 9-11 in Nashville, Tenn.

The author of more than 150 books, Jenkins joins a list of nationally recognized speakers who have addressed the conference — which is geared toward college students — in its first three years. Peggy Wehmeyer, a former religion reporter for ABC News, was the keynote speaker last year, while Fred Barnes of FOX News was the keynoter in 2001.

The conference will include special addresses by other noted personalities in media including David Clark, president of Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach and former president of FamilyNet television; Rudy Kalis, sports director for WSMV TV in Nashville; and Eric Metaxas, book author and creative development/writer for Big Idea Productions.

“I am excited about this third edition of our student journalism conference,” said Will Hall, executive editor of Baptist Press and vice president for news services with the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee. “The noted speakers and talented faculty we have assembled are some of the best in journalism and each has a faith that distinguishes them, too.”

Jenkins and Tim LaHaye have coauthored 11 books in the Left Behind series, which have opened at No. 1 on the best-seller lists of The New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly and The Wall Street Journal.

But Jenkins’ list of works doesn’t stop with the Left Behind series. He has authored books with Bill Gaither, Hank Aaron, Luis Palau, Orel Hershiser and Walter Payton.

Jenkins also is the head of the Christian Writers Guild, which seeks to train future Christian writers.

“There is always a need to restock the pool of workers in any field,” Jenkins told Baptist Press. “In my opinion, right now the writing talent pool is very wide but very shallow.”

Jenkins added that Billy Graham recently told him that the church’s greatest contemporary need is for writers. Jenkins said he is optimistic about the future of Christian writing, “mostly because of the enthusiasm I see on the parts of beginners.”

“They seem genuinely interested in learning, paying their dues, and growing. And if they’re serious, we’re here to help them,” Jenkins said.

The conference will include general sessions — where all attendees will gather — as well as breakout sessions addressing specific topics. Additionally, an awards banquet will be held to recognize the year’s top students through Baptist Press’ Excellence in Journalism Competition.

The breakout sessions will include workshops on news and feature writing, broadcasting, graphic design, magazine feature writing, yearbook design, public relations and photography.

Faculty include Berta Delgado, The Dallas Morning News; Tammi Ledbetter, the Southern Baptist Texan; Allen Palmeri, The Pathway newsjournal; Joni Hannigan, Florida Baptist Witness; Rob Phillips, Chris Turner and Sara Horn of LifeWay Christian Resources; Martin Coleman, Ron Ingram and Trish Ragsdale of FamilyNet television; Gary Fong, The San Francisco Chronicle; Don Boykin, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Martin King, North American Mission Board; Matthew Melton, Lee University; Teresa Young, Wayland Baptist University; Sterling Chen, Philadelphia Inquirer; Tracey Bumpus, CCM magazine; Bill Bangham, The Commission magazine; Andy Beachum, Old Hickory media, publishers of Release and Seven Ball magazines; Terry Mattingly, Scripps Howard; Jon Walker, Pastors.com; and photographers Morris Abernathy, freelance; Gibbs Frazeur, North American Mission Board; and Jim Veneman, Union University.

“Again, the conference will blend skill-building workshops with spiritual encouragement, professional networking with Christian fellowship,” Hall said. “In addition to the great faculty we will have, I imagine that the awards banquet will hold special import for the students as we honor the top work of individuals and schools who participated in the various categories of our Excellence in Journalism Competition.”

The awards banquet will be held Saturday, Oct. 11, at the historic Wyndham Union Station Hotel.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: JERRY JENKINS, DAVID CLARK, ERIC METAXAS and RUDY KALIS.

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