By Linda Slobodian
Nigel Hannaford has been named editor of TheChristians.com. He enters his new role armed with a strong Christian faith and a distinguished career in the Canadian newspaper industry.
Vince Byfield, who has been serving as Editor since the passing of his brother Link, will be taking on the role of Publisher. To that end Byfield will work to ensure the Editor Tutorial Program and TheChristians.com remain faithful to SEARCH’s mission. He will also continue to manage book publishing, promotion, distribution and administration of the charity.
Hannaford has a clear vision of how he will guide and carry out the mandate of the web magazine which is designed to examine stories and events from a Christian perspective. His goal is to fill what he sees as a void in the mainstream media’s delivery of news.
“I believe my experience in the newspaper industry would be the biggest asset to me as I assume the job of editor at TheChristians.com,” says Hannaford whose career in this field has spanned more than three decades.
TheChristians.com presents news stories most relevant and important to today’s Christians while working through the assumption that the Christian creeds are true, says Hannaford. “TheChristians.com has the opportunity to aggregate news items that are important, but that might not be, and often are not, reported by the mainstream press.”
In response to the ongoing debate of whether or not the media is doing its job honestly, fairly and without bias, Hannaford offers his analysis. “Very few people, I think, go into journalism with the intention of creating fake news. Certainly I have had some remarkable, wise, well-informed and well-intentioned colleagues at every newspaper where I have worked. However, with the best intentions, I understand that many journalists feel that in overt news you cannot merely report facts. They believe, and I think this goes back to when Henry Luce was running Time Magazine, that you have to set context for the reader. This is where you wander easily into the quicksand that is subjective journalism.”
As editor of TheChristians.com, Hannaford must monitor hundreds of rapidly unfolding stories from numerous news sources. The formidable goal each week is to whittle them down to the 10 most relevant news items to present for the consumption of the web magazine’s audience. “If TheChristians.com can bring together news items that are credible and relevant, it will better give readers insight into the way that the world is really going. The thing about choosing, is that I am trying to discern between those stories that are just amusing or interesting in a superficial way, that take the eye but don’t really suggest deep societal changes, and those that suggest where humanity is headed.”TheChristians.com has a growing audience comprised of primarily Canadian and American readers, but extends beyond North America. Hannaford, who is certainly no stranger to deciphering facts, figures and and complicated information, is confident readership will continue to expand because of TheChristians.com’s dedication to offering “valid, well researched news items that are relevant” to people’s lives. “We want to make a difference. We dream big. ”
Hannaford has worked in newspapers for 34 years, 10 of them as a columnist and member of the Calgary Herald’s (Postmedia Network) Editorial Board. In 2009, he left the Herald to serve in Ottawa as manager of former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s speechwriting team. When the Conservatives lost the election in 2015 Hannaford and his wife Judy returned to Calgary where he assumed the role of president of Hannaford and Associates, a consulting company he developed.
Born in Plymouth, Great Britain, Hannaford immigrated to Canada in 1974. He earned his Class 1 license that enabled him to work as an oilfield truck driver steering semis along the Alaska Highway for almost two years. After this, he launched his career in the newspaper industry starting as a reporter, then editor, with Alaska Highway News in Fort St. John, B.C. He later joined Sterling News Services as manager, went on to become publisher of Alberni Valley Times, then subsequently became regional manager of Sterling Newspapers Ltd./Hollinger LP, all located in B.C.
Hannaford spent a total of 11 years serving on both the B.C. Press Council and the Alberta Press Council. He has served as a volunteer in many capacities including as a member of Rotary, chairman the Vancouver B.C. Open Learning Institute, and president of the Port Alberni Civil Air Search and Rescue Operation (CASARA). Having earned a Commercial Pilot License, Hannaford has been a hobby pilot for about 20 years.
He has four children and three grandchildren.
Ted Byfield, founder of TheChristians.com, is pleased to welcome Hannaford onboard. “He is a very experienced news editor, columnist and speechwriter. That is a very promising background. He knows a lot about politics, his experience as an editor gives the background for great management skills and his time as a well-known columnist gives him the ability to write to a wide audience. Put all these pieces together along with the fact that he is a strong Christian and you end up with a very good candidate for the job of editor.”
Meanwhile, Hannaford’s longtime passion for telling stories that matter isn’t the only thing that has never wavered. He holds fast to his Christian principles and a desire to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ as closely as possible. He and Judy regularly attend the Calgary’s Centre Street Church. In their free time, they enjoy entertaining friends in their home.
Looking back on his career, the new editor reflects: “I have met so many people during my life and that has been an enormous blessing.” He believes that will decidedly be a valuable asset in his role with TheChristians.com.