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Historical perspective of communication in Asia. ALPS.

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Historical perspective of communication in Asia. ALPS.

Information and Vision for the Future

1. Brief History of Asia Lutheran Press Service

In 1976, the Asian Lutheran church leaders’ conference in Singapore took the initiative to launch Asia Lutheran News, later to be named Asia Lutheran Press Service, or ALPS. This conference appointed a five-member ALPS board. The LWF Secretary for Communication Consultancy, the LWF Asia Secretary and one representative from Lutheran Communications in Asia (LUCIA) were ex-officio members. Since the middle of the 1980s, Yuguchi had been appointed as the ex-officio member from LUCIA to the ALPS Editorial meeting.

Mr. David Lin started working for Asia Lutheran News in 1978 as the editorial assistant to the managing editor. The managing editor was Rev. Anders Hanson, an ELCA missionary with a Swedish background, and he was based in Hong Kong, as was Mr. Lin. The chairman of the committee was Dr. Andrew Chiu, President of Concordia Seminary in Hong Kong. ALPS was soon established as a prominent source of news, partly reporting on Christianity in China after China opened up after the visit by US President Nixon.

Lin was promoted to acting managing editor in 1982, when Anders reached retirement age and returned to the USA. Between 1983 and 1985, Lin went to Boston to study journalism. During his absence, ALN was published in Colombo, Sri Lanka, temporarily as a monthly newsletter. Lin was appointed editor of ALPS after he returned from his studies, and ALN changed its name to Asia Lutheran Press Services. It was also adapted from just a monthly newsletter to a biweekly news service plus a monthly newsletter, fulfilling the original objective to provide “hotter” news to the churches in Asia and the secular press through Fax (the fastest delivery tool available at that time) and airmail. Lin served as editor until early 1994 when he left for the World Association of Christian Communication (WACC) in London. Yuguchi then succeeded him to launch ALPS as a quarterly magazine from Tokyo, continuing until March 2002. Now Ms. Sally Kee has succeeded this job at her office in Bangkok.

The Asia Lutheran, a 40-60-page magazine, was published in Tokyo from October 1994 to the year 2001, totaling 14 issues. Each issue had a special topic. The Asia Lutheran Web site was started along with the May issue in 1996, and the first URL was <asia-luth.org> then <asia-lutheran.org>. We have had many hits to the site, since there were not many English Home Pages in the 1990s. Over the years, we have changed our server several times.

2. Evaluations

Magazines sent:
Individuals: 123, schools 50, churches 77, library 5, others 51
number of copies/issue:750)

  • Individuals 123
  • School 50
  • Churches 77
  • Library 5
  • Others 51
    • Within Asia 250
    • Outside Asia 56

For my 7 years as the editor of the Asia Lutheran, I have encountered some problems in producing the AL. These are:
Little news or reactions: ‘No news is good news’ for secular society, but we should consider whether or not this cliché is good for Lutherans in Asia. There was little news from the churches and few responses from our readers, which meant I had to edit the magazine, as well as write the featured articles every time. The main news sources were ecumenical and secular ones, both on-line and printed sources, several NGOs’ publications on human rights, and environmental issues in Asia.

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