The article identification number in your browser right now is 10,000, marking a milestone for EthicsDaily.com.
Six years ago on Martin Luther King Day, the Baptist Center for Ethics launched a new Web site publishing all-new content five days a week. Since then thousands of news stories, features, columns, editorials have moved across these pages, reaching audiences literally around the world.
Cliff Vaughn, EthicsDaily.com’s culture editor, said a lot has changed for him since his first article appeared on the site Jan. 14, 2002. He and his wife, Mary, have had two children, and he works from his home since the Baptist Center for Ethics moved to a virtual office.
“People are also going online for news, information and resources more than they were six years ago,” Vaughn said. “We’re glad to have staked out a corner in cyberspace where people across the globe can be challenged to advance the common good.”
Formed in 1991 to provide proactive, positive and practical ethics resources and services to congregations, the Nashville-based BCE began experimenting with Web-based publishing in January 1999.
“From its very beginning, the Baptist Center for Ethics has sought to use to best of affordable technology to advance its mission,” said BCE Executive Director Robert Parham. “We moved from printed newsletters to faxed newsletters, from bulk e-mails to an occasionally updated Web site, from a rich text-driven Web site to one with increasing numbers of video clips.”
The BCE’s first Web site was launched with limited content to complement a bi-monthly printed newsletter. The volume of posted articles gradually increased, and over time the organization decided to leave the printed newsletter behind. Later BCE’s publishing division, Acacia Resources, basically abandoned printed educational materials, moving almost exclusively to online curriculum.
Parham said staff learned early on that the original name of the first Web site, Baptists4Ethics.com, was confusing. Readers didn’t know if “Baptist” was plural or singular, or whether to spell out “four” or use the numeral 4. Some even stumbled on the word “ethics,” confusing it with “ethnics.”
When the BCE determined in 2001 to move aggressively onto the World Wide Web, posting six new articles each weekday, it sought a new name to signal its brashly ambitious plans. EthicsDaily.com was born.
Recently Parham observed in an editorial the EthicsDaily.com imprint has become better known than the name of the organization. Traveling to a meeting of global Baptists in Ghana, Parham said he received a blank response when introducing himself as being with the Baptist Center for Ethics, but when he referenced EthicsDaily.com, folks from Liberia to Australia immediately recognized the name and said they read the Web site regularly.
“It has been a terrific challenge, a profoundly rewarding journey,” Parham said. “Today our site is read by Baptists around the world and is considered one of the premier Christian Web sites for news, commentary and other information.”
In addition to editorial content, there are more than 1,600 sermons on EthicsDaily.com’s online sermon library.
“Our success results from the hardest working staff in Baptist life and a host of columnists passionate about social justice,” Parham said.
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.