Three Traits of a Journalist, Per Nathan the Prophet

Dr. Kevin Miller, Professor of Communication
If you are thinking of a career in journalism, I’m guessing you have the same three qualities that the prophet Nathan had in the Bible...

If you are thinking of a career in journalism, I’m guessing you have the same three qualities that the prophet Nathan had in the Bible. They are 

  1. An inner sense for justice: Do you hear yourself saying, “That’s not right!”? If so, you are like Nathan. When King David basically murdered his top general to cover up the affair David had with Uriah’s wife, Nathan showed up with an exposé on David’s carefully laid plans to hide his adultery. 

  1. A skill for storytelling: In high school, middle school, and even elementary school, you kept getting compliments about your writing. This is because you are gifted with the same skill the prophet Nathan used when confronting the king. Nathan told the story of a rich man who had many flocks, yet robbed a family of their one sheep. Indignant, King David declared the rich man deserved to die. Nathan then stated: “You are the man!” David was stricken with his own sin, then repented and received redemption (read Psalm 51). A story did what a simple accusation couldn’t do. 

  1. The curiosity and grit to go the distance. Did you know that twice in 1 and 2 Chronicles there is mention of a “book of Nathan the prophet”? I would love to read that book, but unfortunately it has been lost to the sands of time. Before it was lost, biblical readers put it to good use. Some three hundred years after Nathan died, King Hezekiah used Nathan’s book to instruct his musicians in the newly rebuilt Temple. The influence of your writing can last generations. If you have the traits of a journalist like Nathan, you will find yourself writing hard news and feature stories for news websites and blogs…and eventually books of your own. But only if you have the curiosity to find things worth writing about and the grit to pull your projects through to the polished end.  

If you have these and other traits of a good journalist, I invite you to come and major in journalism at Huntington University. We’ll give you the same training and education we gave Shelly Bradbury, one of our journalism graduates. When in our department, she wrote and edited stories for our campus newspaper — just as students are doing even now online (take a look). After a year of Bradbury’s first stint as a newspaper reporter, she emailed us to say that her “editors seem to agree that writing is one of my strengths, and I've got to guess that's in part because of the classes…where we scrutinized each and every word.” (We make our students true wordsmiths!) 

Since then, she, with two other reporters, won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news for covering a mass shooting at a synagogue. The next year Bradbury was named a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer in local news reporting for a series of stories on sexual abuse within a local separatist community. Today she is a reporter for The Denver Post. We are proud to count her as one of our journalism “prophets” — and we would be thrilled to count you as one too! 


Kevin D. Miller, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Communication. He was a reporter and associate editor at Christianity Today magazine (see his article on the Exodus) before joining the faculty at Huntington University. He notes that these qualities for a journalist are really no different than the Spirit of a Forester qualities (chases truth, remains curious, has grit, explores creativity, etc.). You can reach him at  





Written by
Dr. Kevin Miller, Professor of Communication