From The Whitworthian to Christianity Today
by Meghan May Dellinger, ’15
When former Whitworthian editor Morgan Feddes, ’11, first heard of an internship position at Christianity Today, she knew it was for her. But this Whitworth alumna didn’t know where this stepping stone would take her in her journey. She still doesn’t know, but she’s confident that her year at a leading Christian magazine will play a formative role for the rest of her life.
Feddes says the experience was unexpected for her. “It’s a lot different [writing] at a magazine,” she says. “You have to come up with things that are relevant and interesting in two months’ time.”
Feddes had not planned on journalism for a career at all. No classes for the profession had been offered at her high school in Manhattan, Mont., until the year after she left. In any case, Feddes says she was always much more interested in the English side of reading and writing, “especially poetry and fiction.”
“Journalism is something I kind of fell into. I don’t even really know what got me into it at Whitworth,” Feddes adds. But having discovered The Whitworthian, she “just thought it looked like something interesting, got sucked in, and never left.”
Feddes came to Whitworth from a small hometown with a population of 1,553 to get a bachelor’s degree in English. She says she loved the English department and how close-knit it was. “We help[ed] each other learn,” she says.
Pamela Parker, a professor of English and Women’s Studies at Whitworth, remembers Feddes from the first day of her freshmen English class. “She’s quite a memorable personality,” Parker says. “She strikes me as someone who is a good model for people to follow. She worked really hard to keep her grades up and to keep herself involved. She really made sure her education prepared her for whatever she wants to do.”
Feddes participated in a variety of activities on campus, getting involved everywhere she could. She started writing for The Whitworthian. She held various leadership positions, including being copy editor of the newspaper, and eventually made her way up to the top, becoming editor-in-chief in 2009.
“One of my friends told me that I would be editor-in-chief and I said no way,” she recalls in amusement. “Two years later, I had to call him up and tell him he was right.”
Toward the end of her senior year, Parker, who was Feddes’ advisor at the time, learned about an internship opportunity with Christianity Today for the position of an editorial resident at the magazine. Each year, the magazine sends out letters to various colleges around the Pacific Northwest, looking for an undergraduate who is willing to fill the job. Christianity Today partners with M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust to sponsor the internship, which lasts for a year.
“It was an interesting situation; it was a relatively new internship,” Parker says. “I realized that given all of [Feddes’] experiences here, like writing for The Whitworthian, writing a blog, and her experiences in the English department, she would be ideal for the job.”
Feddes adds, “The whole Christianity Today thing was just God opening a door. And I thought, sure I’ll go for it. Normally I wouldn’t have even considered it, but Pamela got the letter and she called to find out more about it, and realized I was a good fit.”
In April 2011, Feddes started going through the interview process. By June, she had the job.
Feddes worked in the international news section of the magazine, mainly writing about news in the international Christian community. However, she did get to do a few question-and-answer articles later on. Feddes says she loved every moment of her experience at Christianity Today, but she thinks working in journalism is not something she would want to continue doing.
“I just don’t think I’m a journalist in the writing sense,” she explains. “I like to find a story and turn in the most complete story it can be. That’s why I liked the English major; there are no deadlines. It’s different from journalism.”
Feddes explains several advantages and disadvantages of working at the magazine. For example, she says that she loved getting more time to spread her work out than when she worked on The Whitworthian. She also said that because of this, the articles needed to be stronger. “We had to come up with information for two months in advance,” she says. “A lot of it is relevance-based rather than time-based, [and] the writing we did at The Whitworthian was time-based.”
Working at Christianity Today, Feddes was around people with much more experience than her, she says. “I was the youngest person… in my section – probably by a decade. [It] was nice because they had experience,” Feddes says. “When I was editor-in-chief [at The Whitworthian], there were only three or four editors on the staff that had editing experience. It was a whole different learning curve than at Christianity Today.”
Moving out to Chicago, Ill., was also something Feddes had to adjust to. “It was tough for me to leave a lot of friends at Whitworth. In Chicago, I didn’t really know a ton of people,” she says. “Most everyone my age or older [at Christianity Today] had a boyfriend or girlfriend, was married, or had kids. When it came time to hang out, they were just at a different level in life.”
After her internship ended in late spring 2012, Feddes moved back to Montana to live with her parents while she decided what to do. She soon found herself thinking of joining the Air Force, as many of her family had done; her youngest brother is currently serving in Oman, and a couple of her cousins have also been serving for a few years. “I’ve been thinking about the military for a long time. It’s a chance to serve the country, and serve other people,” Feddes says. “I wanted to apply just to see where God would take it.”
Although Feddes was accepted to become an air-battle manager, which she says “essentially is a mission strategist,” problems with her eyes have left her wondering whether she can continue. She is currently waiting to see how the situation will play out.
Feddes says she is glad for the opportunities she has been given with the internship, even though it hasn’t always been what she expected. “The biggest thing is to just be open to where God is leading you,” she says. And learning to do that with her Christianity Today internship, she knows, was a “building block” lesson that will shape her next step – and all those that follow it.