School Speakers: Josh Good Q&A

4 mins read

By Martha Ewing ’26

On Tuesday, April 11th, The Frederick Gunn School hosted journalist and director of the Ethics and Public Policy Center’s Faith Angle Forum, Josh Good. The event was met with mixed reactions from the student body as Mr. Good was introduced as a conservative speaker. Many students immediately jumped to their own conclusions about what he might say or believe. In a desire to learn more about his work, Martha Ewing, a representative of the Highlander Newspaper, interviewed Mr. Good during dinner that evening to learn more about his career. During the interview, Mr. Good answered a variety of questions about his work, his beliefs, and his experiences in the journalism industry. He talked about his work at the EPPC, where he leads the Faith Angle Forum, an initiative that aims to promote a deeper understanding of religion’s role in public life. He also discussed his experiences working as a journalist and shared his thoughts on the current state of the media. He provided insights into his day-to-day experiences working in Washington DC, where he interacts with policymakers and journalists on a regular basis. He discussed the challenges of navigating the political landscape in DC and shared his

thoughts on how journalists can maintain their integrity while covering politics. Throughout this interview, The Highlander Newspaper was able to gain a nuanced and balanced perspective on Mr. Good’s career, which will hopefully help to foster a more informed discussion among the student body. 

Ewing: To summarize in a sentence, what exactly do you do?

Good: I run a small program called Faith Angle Forum that hosts mainstream journalists to try and help them better understand religion. 

Ewing: Why is bringing religious ideals into public policy important to you? 

Good: The program that I’m involved with helps reporters, columnists, and editors broadly understand religion. I think the idea is to have some continuity with the country’s heritage, origins, and direction from the early days that still continues to be relevant today. 

Ewing: What does your day look like? 

Good: I go in three days a week, sometimes four. We have an office that is four blocks from the White House. It is part of a small think tank that has about 20-25 people, scholars, and staff who work together. Sometimes that will involve having brunch or breakfast or lunch with a journalist to learn about what they are up to and try to be a resource for them if they have interest in writing a story that has a religious angle, but I also mostly focus on doing a podcast conversation once every two weeks, typically with a different scholar, cleric, or journalist each time. A lot of time is spent prepping for those podcasts, and also prepping four forums each year, which typically have eighteen to twenty journalists who go away someplace. 

Ewing: How does your work encourage young people to become active citizens? 

Good: Well in some sense, we don’t. We’re not directly trying to get younger people to be engaged, thoughtful citizens in society. On the other hand, there’s sort of a downstream effect of these conversations that happen because they get recorded and shared. Our podcast doesn’t have a huge reach, it has a little north of seventeen hundred listens each episode, so we don’t know a lot about exactly who listens, but our biggest audience is in DC, second biggest is in New York, and third is in Los Angeles. So that means a lot of people who are interested in journalism probably listen to it. We do have one program that will be gathering later this month that’s all aimed at young journalists under the age of thirty-five. Most people in journalism see their work as a form of public service. They see it as a form of making society a better place, telling the truth about what’s going on, covering power, and we are also trying to pursue and help build a better world. So I would say that the journalist forums for young people are an example.

Ewing: As a Christian, what is the role of sacrifice in civil responsibility? 

Good: I think it’s everything. I mean, we have lots of forms of Christianity making lots of noise in our country today; prosperity gospel, smells and bells, and tradition. But at the core of Christianity is the idea of sacrifice. In terms of civic engagement, we do not need more politicians to go rant on their pedestals, have a huge platform, and try to whip their base up into a frenzy to be convinced that they’re obviously right and that their opponents are idiots. We do not need that. However, we have a lot of that. So what is necessary to hopefully be bridge-builders, and to bridge divides that are getting worse in our country, is to have people who are willing to not be in the limelight, and to act in sacrificial, long term, service-oriented ways. My understanding about The Hill is that there are a lot of committees that do not work. And the reason is pretty simple: because there are cameras. Because there are cameras, people have conversations in front of groups, and all they’re really doing is performing for the camera. They’re hoping they get a thirty second sound bite that they can blow up on YouTube that will get like 75,000 people in their home district all fired up that night. They are not having an honest conversation! The one place that does work is the Intelligence Committee. The reason that it works is because there are no cameras, and because the members of Congress who actually are part of it, aren’t grandstanding. They aren’t showing off, they aren’t performing, they are being formed by the essential work of the group. They are people who are succeeding quietly with much more humility, much more curiosity, and much more sacrifice. That is exactly what we need in terms of sacrifice towards civic engagement.

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