Ted Haggard & journalism.

Ted Haggard gave the keynote at the Religion Newswriters Association conference in September. He opened the talk by discussing his early interest in journalism. (Audio can be found here. The following transcriptions are mine.)

"I was excited about telling the truth, and helping people to be more truthful in public." One of his tactics as a reporter for his high-school paper was to place a microphone in the teachers lounge and publish what the faculty said about students.

"If they were going to stand up in public and say how much they loved students...and then they'd get in the teachers lounge and talk about trying to put some of them in bed with them, and they would comment on their intellectual capacities, and comment on their bodies, then we thought that was newsworthy."

But Haggard's father wasn't too taken with this passion for journalism. He offered Ted a car to bribe him into attending Oral Roberts University. Ted, never having heard about the school, did some research, and decided that matriculating there would be a unique opportunity to bypass journalism school by investigating Oral Roberts himself.

"I can skip journalism school if I can find out that Oral Roberts is sleeping with someone other than Evelyn, or if I can catch him in a lie, or if I can catch him faking miracles...stealing money or something like that. And so I went to Oral Roberts University fully intending to expose Oral Roberts in order to advance my career."

This turned out to be great fun during his freshman and sophomore years, but finally disappointing.

"I can't tell you the dismay I felt when I became fully convinced he slept with his own wife....It was the killer spike of my journalistic career when I found out Oral Roberts did not steal money. So because of that...I ended up in ministry...encouraging people to live a better life, and to live a life that was honorable, to keep their promises and keep their word."

Grant Gallicho joined Commonweal as an intern and was an associate editor for the magazine until 2015. 

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