United Methodist Reporter to Continue Digitally


 NASHVILLE, Tenn. --  CircuitWriter Media LLC announced June 8 that it has entered into an agreement with UMR Communications Inc. to purchase the rights and digital assets of the United Methodist Reporter (UMR) with the intention of continuing the work of UMR on the Internet and through other digital means.

This will allow the website UnitedMethodistReporter.com to continue into the future, with the hope of continuing to have independent source for United Methodist-oriented news and commentary.

UnitedMethodistReporter.com had been in danger of shutting down in the wake of last month’s announcement by UMR Communications Inc. that it would cease operations due to the ongoing burden of their overhead and print operations. This announcement spurred CircuitWriter Media partners Charles Harrison, Gavin Richardson, and Jay Voorhees to examine the online presence of the Reporter and to create a plan for allowing the digital side of UMR to continue. This plan was presented to the Executive Committee of UMR Communications Inc., which was charged with closing down the business.  The committee approved the decision to sell the rights and digital assets to CircuitWriter Media.

“Once the decision was made for UMR Communications to cease operations, I have been praying that the ministry of the Reporter as an independent entity in service to the church would emerge,” said Alan Heath, UMR CEO, after the Executive Committee decision was made.  “The proposal by CircuitWriter Media was an answer to prayer. I along with the Executive Committee of our Board of Directors applaud these dedicated communicators for taking up the challenge.”

The CircuitWriter Media partners are no strangers to producing web content for United Methodists. Richardson and Voorhees are the co-founders and publishers of The MethoBlog (www.methoblog.com), a site which aggregates the content of over 300 Methodist-oriented bloggers into a single stream, and which partnered last year with the United Methodist News Service in Tampa to create a special site for conversation and reporting about the 2012 General Conference. Richardson owns and operates TheYouthworker Circuit (www.youthworkercircuit.com) which provides resources for youth ministry in the Wesleyan tradition, and has been a speaker throughout the country on the intersection between technology and ministry. Harrison is the CEO of CYMX and The Youthworker Movement, both of which have maintained award-winning websites (www.CYMX.org and www.youthworkermovement.org). All have been active bloggers and participants on social media sites for many years, offering commentary and reporting on issues in the United Methodist Church.

Under their plan, The United Methodist Reporter and The MethoBlog will become divisions of CircuitWriter Media LLC, and will continue to operate with different functions. The MethoBlog will continue to provide the aggregated sum of blogger shared commentary, while the United Methodist Reporter will continue as a curated site focused on United Methodist news and commentary. There are also plans in the works for providing a national news digest in a digital form for annual conferences and congregations to subscribe to for use in their publications. Advertising sales and technical management will be centralized across the two platforms.

“We are excited about the opportunity to continue the tradition of the United Methodist Reporter,” said Voorhees, one of the CircuitWriter Media partners. “We believe that it’s vitally important to the United Methodist connection to have a news source that is not affiliated with any official board or agency, and we believe we have a plan in place which will make providing those services financially viable.”

CircuitWriter Media is being incorporated in the state of Texas, and will be operated out of Nashville, Tenn.