Geneva-based ENInews suspends operation

December 22, 2010

Faced with a 50 percent cut in funding in 2011 from the World Council of Churches, the Geneva-based ENInews suspended its five-days-a-week news service on December 21.

The award-winning news agency, also known as Ecumenical News Inter­national, drew its main support from the WCC, although sponsoring groups in­cluded the Lutheran World Federation and the World Communion of Reformed Churches.

The news service—not a public relations arm for the church organizations—was widely respected for its editorial independence and integrity.

Its network of 50 correspondents worldwide were told December 15 by editor-in-chief Peter Kenny that he and managing editor Stephen Brown and other staffers in Geneva will end their jobs before Christmas. Financial constraints made it "impossible for the agency to continue as it has done in the past," Kenny said.

The news service, which was launched in 1994, learned on May 6 of WCC's cutback in 2011 funds. Two days later in Washington, D.C., ENInews was honored by the Associated Church Press as the best news agency covering religion as well as winning other awards.

Plans to restart a "restructured" ENI operation in January were not immediately detailed.

The president of ENInews, Anders Gadegaard, dean of the Copenhagen (Lutheran) Cathedral, registered his disappointment in submitting his resignation on December 8.

"I do not wish to take responsibility for a restructuring process without ensuring that the experiences and achievements of the past are brought forward into the new structures," said Gadegaard. "Transformation and renewal should always build on the achievements of the past. To begin once again from zero is a waste of investments, resources and great human qualifications."