Broadcast journalist Seyfi Genç discovered the power of media as a teenager – when it changed his life. Today, as news editor for SAT-7 TÜRK, his work in media gives others timely and accurate insights into the Christian faith he discovered as an 18-year-old.
Asked how his faith in Christ began, award-winning Turkish journalist Seyfi Genç points to the same inspiration for his career in news – an interest in amateur radio and a hunger to hear fresh opinions.
At 16 and living in the southern Turkish town of Gazientep, he says, “My hobby was ham radio and I was always searching on medium and short wave, looking for new sources to hear opinions from other countries.”
One of those which caught his attention was a Christian programme in Turkish, called Call of Peace. “I started listening every day,” Seyfi says. “I was searching about religions, because when I read the Quran, maybe the first 50 pages, I didn’t like the opinions.”
Seyfi sent questions to the station and received a number of brochures that helped to answer them. After two years, he committed his life to Christ, aged 18, and, four years later, his faith grew at university where he attended a Christian campus group and church.
Listening to radio also ignited an early interest in journalism. His first news story was published in a local newspaper when Seyfi was only 16. He worked part time on the paper after he started high school and right on through his university studies.
This led in 2008 to winning the award for journalism for best local news article in the national Metin Göktepe awards. Seyfi’s exposure of censorship in the art gallery of his home city had won coverage in 18 newspapers.
Having come to Christ through media, Seyfi is also keen to use his writing and journalism skills to communicate his faith. He has worked on a Christian children’s newspaper, written Sunday School materials and penned the first Christmas book for children in Turkish.
Today Seyfi has an even larger audience as the news editor for the weekly news broadcasts on SAT-7 TÜRK, the only Christian satellite channel on Turkey’s national satellite network.
“Turkey has over 600 channels… None provide a Christian opinion, only SAT-7.”
Putting together the newscast is a challenging job given that the entire news team comprises Seyfi and one fellow journalist.
But Seyfi is passionate about it: “Turkey has over 600 channels,” he explains. “None provide a Christian opinion, only SAT-7. Our news gives a Christian focus on Turkish news, tells people about Christian events and festivals.” Seyfi contrasts this with other channels which “sometimes give misinformation about Christians and the Church”.
Just as his own faith was prompted by a thirst for ideas and spiritual answers, Seyfi is convinced that many viewers and followers of SAT-7 TÜRK’s Facebook news page are on a similar journey. When he shares news relating to Christianity on SAT-7 TÜRK’s Facebook page, he says items often reach 1,500 people in an hour, whereas general news only reaches 40.
“It shows the hunger our followers have to read about Christianity,” he says. “Non-Christian viewers like the programme because they want to hear different opinions.”
And when he isn’t dashing out stories at the news desk, Seyfi likes to relax as he always has – taking to the airwaves as operator TB2MOK on HAM radio.
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