Journalism Students Spend Time In Prison?To Tell Ministry Outreach Stories
Riverside, Calif. (June 10, 2016) – Equipped with cameras, pens, notepads and willing hearts, 10 California Baptist University students entered the confines of two Louisiana state prisons to capture the stories of inmates for Awana Lifeline ministries. The students created content through articles, photographs and video to help promote the organization's various prison ministries.
Dr. Michael Chute, CBU professor of journalism, said the trip to the prisons were equal parts service and field training for the students: they work on deadline to create stories, and in the process they also learn a different perspective on life inside a prison.
"Just because [the prisoners are] behind bars and razor wire, doesn't mean that God's not there," Chute said.
This was the second consecutive year students, along with faculty and staff, worked with Awana Lifeline. The group visited the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women and the Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola) in mid-May.
CBU students captured stories for the women's ministry called Hannah's Gift and the men's ministry, Malachi Dads. Both programs teach biblical parenting concepts to the inmates.
Additionally, the students chronicled the Returning Hearts Celebration event at the Angola prison, which featured inmates reuniting with their children for a day of activities and fun.
Randy Plavajka, a journalism and new media junior, was a videographer for the group.
"As a journalist, it's an opportunity to expand my horizons and [in the process] recognize the needs of a group of people that are so often marginalized in society," he said.
Raine Paul, graduate assistant for journalism, said she was grateful for the chance to visit the prisons.
"The experience gave me a whole new perspective on incarceration and reminded me of how blessed I am to have a father who I am able to talk to every day," she said.