ANN Video will air its 500th consecutive news episode on Friday, March 5, 2021. For nearly 10 years, the network has not missed a weekly installment of the program featuring global Adventist news, mission stories and Adventist history.
History and Collaboration
It all started in 2011. Andre Brink, a video production specialist, was elected as associate Communication director for the Seventh-day Adventist Church headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland., United States. Almost immediately, Communication director Williams Costa approached him with an idea for a weekly news broadcast.
“The Church always had its news,” Brink says. “It went out on websites, in magazines, but there was no video news program. Williams wanted a 30-minute show, and we thought, ‘Wow! 30 minutes of news in one program. That’s quite a challenge!’” At first it was difficult to find stories to fill the time—the first block of the program was news, followed by departmental reports and a technology corner. ANN began recording in a small studio in the basement of the General Conference building, with volunteer anchors reading each news story.
Mylon Medley, former script writer and assistant producer for ANN, had a list of contacts for every division, union and conference. If she knew of a specific conference that regularly pushed out news stories, she checked their websites and Facebook or other social media accounts for material to share. Then, she’d personally contact the communication team in that area for more information. Soon photos, videos, and news stories began to pour in from correspondents around the world. It turned into a collaborative effort between media entities within the Adventist Church. Medley says that this network was crucial. “I couldn’t have done my job without the help of my international partners.”
Over the years, many people—video editors, script writers and volunteer anchors—have worked, often behind the scenes, to provide accurate and inspiring content for the global Adventist audience. “As far as I know, there’s nothing like it that really pulls together the news of the denomination to one place and has reliably and consistently done that over the years. It’s one of those things that keeps the Adventist church as a family,” Medley says.
Continuity Through Challenges
Jennifer Stymiest, producer for ANN Video and assistant director for Communication at the World Church headquarters, says that she is so blessed to have a crew who is willing to take their time every week to ensure that the news is recorded, even during challenging times.
The coronavirus pandemic threatened to ruin ANN’s perfect record. When the General Conference building initially closed due to the COVID shutdown last March, the Communications team thought it would be for about two weeks. They recorded two episodes in advance to cover the studio closure. When the shutdown was extended indefinitely, the Communications team quickly adapted their recording process so anchors could tape their segments from home. The weekly news continued without interruption. “Somehow we manage to keep going. God has been really good to us,” Stymiest says. “We have amazing troopers.”
“ANN is a great resource for our Church,” former anchor Jean Boonstra says. “I really appreciate the fact that all the individuals I worked with believed…in the mission and believed in telling that story, not only here in North America, but a global story.”
Current anchor Sanjay Thomas agrees. “We really are a World Church,” he says, “and it’s important to be informed as to what’s taking place around the world. Beyond that, having a program like ANN is important because it contributes to feeling connected to a global Seventh-day Adventist Church community.”
ANN has recently expanded to include ANN InDepth, where individuals discuss a specific topic. Stymiest has big dreams for the future. She would love to see five minute daily “news breaks,” magazine style programming, and even documentaries join the ANN family.
“At the end of the day,” she says, “ANN—the website, the stories, the video news—we’re the voice of the Church through the Communication Department. Our job is to bring the news of the global Church to the world. We would love to develop new ways to do that.”
Stymiest concludes, “The Adventist Church is doing amazing things. We’re reaching our communities and touching lives and I hope that ANN can find really clever and exciting ways to share that with our World Church and with people who don’t know much about the Adventist faith.”
You can view ANN Video on multiple media platforms including Hope Channel, Adventist.news and the Adventist YouTube channel.