Author documents career in Mennonite media in new book

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HARRISONBURG, Va. — It was from humble beginnings that 16-year-old Melodie Davis entered the world of Christian media fearlessly.

It was on the humble floor of a chicken coop that Davis, now 70, a retired Christian media professional and author, took her first steps into her field, she said.

“On that day, November 18, 1967,” Davis wrote in his new book, “on Sunday afternoon at 4:30 p.m., I decided what I want to be: a Christian writer.”

Davis then worked for Mennonite Media, now MennoMedia, for 43 years. She started as a secretary – not her first choice for a job title – and worked her way up to a job as editor when she retired in 2018.

Wanting to provide an updated story on the company and also share her experience as a woman in the industry at a time when that wasn’t easy to do, Davis recently posted “Memoir of an Unimagined Career: 43 Years Inside Mennonite Media”. ”

Davis said she wanted to share her company’s story from an engaging, insider’s perspective, drawing inspiration from her own personal life and the major world events of the past half-century that illuminate her story. .

“Anyone who has memories of ‘The Mennonite Hour’ as it became what is now MennoMedia will love this book,” Harvey Yoder, pastor of Family of Hope Mennonite House Church, said in a review. “Melodie’s personal story woven into the history of this church agency makes for fascinating reading.”

Davis said she entered the field when people asked about working mothers on popular radio shows of the time, such as ‘The Mennonite Hour’, produced by the company she went for. work.

Over the decades, Davis, a screenwriter, said the company expanded into more television and film media, including documentaries.

“His ideas about collaboration, acknowledging failures, crossing boundaries, caring for people in stories, and embracing changing opportunities are nuggets of wisdom to be gleaned,” said Jerry Holsopple, professor of visual and communication arts at Eastern Mennonite University. exam.

Davis said the documentaries were carried by local affiliates of some of the major networks in the 1980s and 1990s. One of the most interesting parts of her career, she said, was fielding calls on a phone line after the show aired.

Davis, who grew up in the Mennonite faith, now attends a local Presbyterian church, which she has been a part of for decades, with her husband. On the same staircase where she posed for photos on her wedding day, Davis — with her humble smile — posed for a photo with her new book.

“Over the years I found that what I really loved to do was write,” Davis said. “I realized it was good to be a missionary or to have a mission here in Harrisonburg.”

Davis also wrote a column called “Another Way” which appeared in the Daily News-Record in the 1990s and early 2000s. She wrote nine other books and won numerous awards for her work, including a Distinguished Service Award from EMU and recognition from American Women in Radio and Television.

“I don’t have any proof (at hand),” Davis said. “But some of our stuff won American Women in Radio and Television. I have to go to New York for a red carpet.

Davis said she hopes aspiring female journalists, young people starting their careers, and anyone interested in the history of Christian media will find her book meaningful. “Memory of an Unimaginable Career” is available on Amazon.

“(I hope) that (readers) can find ways to do things they didn’t think they could do,” Davis said. “Things that challenge you. And just to give your all and try to do your best. I had a lot of help along the way.

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