Anglican Journal editor resigns

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Marites (Tess) Sison, editor of the Anglican Journal, has announced her resignation effective July 13.

Sison was appointed editor in 2014, moving from her position as the Journal’s senior staff writer. She has worked for the paper for more than 14 years.

“It has been a great honour and privilege to work for the Anglican Journal, which along with the diocesan newspapers, goes directly into the homes of 121,000 Anglicans across the country,” she said.

The church’s national, editorially independent newspaper won 83 awards during Sison’s three-and-a-half-year tenure, including numerous first prizes for general excellence from inter-denominational religious press associations in Canada and the U.S.

Under her direction, the Journal has reported on issues of church governance, while also digging into social issues, broader questions about faith and everyday life. “I would like the Journal to be out there on the ground and on the road, gathering stories that offer encouragement and hope, provoke deep thought and inspire positive change and capture the challenges as well as the courage, dynamism and goodness of those who have dedicated their lives to God’s plan,” she said in 2014.

Upon her appointment, she also committed to uphold the paper’s editorial independence.

In her time as staff writer and editor, Sison was also pivotal in building and increasing the Journal’s presence online, using social media, multimedia projects and special reports.

“I owe a lot to my talented and hardworking colleagues at the Journal and also to our freelance contributors,” she said. “I’m also extremely thankful to our faithful readers, whose contributions not only help finance the operations of the Journal, but provide staff with tremendous moral support to continue their work.”

She added: “At a time when journalism is in a state of flux around the world, including Canada, newspapers like the Journal count on readers and donors for support. In turn, they count on us to keep them truly informed about issues that affect them and the world.”

Since joining the paper in 2003 as a staff writer, Sison has been known for her insightful reporting on church polity, human rights, humanitarian crises and social justice. She has been applauded for her coverage of Indigenous issues, including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and residential schools, which National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald called “sensitive, probing and fair,” at the time of her appointment as editor.

Sison also received numerous awards for writing and photography during her time reporting for the Journal.

Sison is a graduate of the University of the Philippines, where she studied mass communications. She has more than three decades of professional journalism experience in Canada and overseas. She has contributed to The Toronto Star and CBC Radio and worked as a stringer for The New York Times. From 1987 through 2003, she was a fellow with the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. She has authored and co-authored several books on journalism.

“Since Tess joined the General Synod, she has been a valuable and well respected member of our team,” communications director for the Anglican Church of Canada Meghan Kilty wrote in an email to national office staff. “We will miss her professionalism, empathy and dedication.”

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Joelle Kidd
Joelle Kidd joined the Anglican Journal in 2017 as staff writer. She has worked as an editor and writer for the Winnipeg-based Fanfare Magazine Group and as freelance copy editor for Naida Communications.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you Tess, the Office of the National Indigenous Anglican Bishop will miss you. May new opportunities arise for you and may you continue to write the truth! Skennen and blessings as you journey on!

  2. Marites Sison has done an outstanding job as editor of the Journal. The benefits for the Journal, and consequently for readers, are well identified in the article. Anglican Journal has been the only place that Canadian Anglicans can get hard news about our Church together with news about the wider Anglican Communion from a Canadian perspective.

    New younger writers are among the Journal’s contributors thanks to Ms. Sison’s leadership. As a reader, I have appreciated the editor’s indefatigable support for The Journal’s editorial independence. One suspects this to have been very challenging at a church newspaper where national hierarchy such as the The Primate and The National Aboriginal Bishop are standing opinion contributors. Imagine, if you will, being editor of a national secular paper where the prime minister or Governor- General have their views published in every edition.

    One fears that the vacancy at the editor’s desk will make it easier to advance the agenda of converting The Journal from a newspaper into a public relations newsletter for General Synod communications spin.

    Best wishes to Ms. Sison going forward. I’m sure many other readers are grateful for the quality journalism that has been characteristic on her watch.

  3. I would echo what Canon Gillis said. Having edited two Diocesan newspapers and having worked as a journalist for two decades before beginning ordained ministry, I can appreciates the challenges Tess has faced as a writer and editor for The Journal during a time of change in journalism. I hope the Journal and Diocesan papers can continue their partnership to provide important insight into the mission and ministry of the church. It would be short sighted indeed to move to only a web presence, or have the journal become a mouthpiece for the general synod. There is a proud tradition of editorial independence which has been upheld by many editors over the years. Thanks Tess for your excellent work. All the best.

  4. Thank you Tess for upholding the integrity of journalism in the writing and reporting of stories. As an indigenous priest, I have appreciated the generous coverage on issues that have affected our community especially where Truth and Reconciliation and self determination are concerned. I shall miss your leadership and pray your gifts will continue to be used in the years ahead,

  5. I am very sorry to see Marites Sison leave the Journal. She has done an excellent job of maintaining the Journal’s journalistic integrity and independence, both of which are, I believe, crucial. As is the case of government, the church requires an independent body of journalists to keep us honest. The people who are elected to councils, synods and committees need to have an independent analysis of what is going on not just approved “news.” I don’t want to know only what the authorities would like me to know about the church. I want an independent view. I am not saying this because I think our leadership would deliberately lie, but they are likely to present things from their own viewpoint and with their own agenda. An independent newspaper which is sympathetic with our goals as a church (unlike the secular media which is neither sympathetic nor interested) is essential to maintain our democratic structures and the integrity of the church. I sincerely hope that General Synod will not permit the Anglican Journal to become a newsletter only but will have the courage to maintain its journalistic independence.

    Incidentally, I don’t see why we shouldn’t charge a subscription. I would gladly pay one to maintain the independent print media I have come to love.

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