A Toledo woman, saying she was inspired to do something special after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, has published the first issue of the Christian Reporter, a free, monthly newspaper.
Sonya Thomas, who also serves as executive director of the Peace Mountain Foundation, said the terrorist attacks caused her to rethink the purpose of her life.
“I've always felt that I should be doing more for [God,]” she wrote in the first issue. “That's why I've decided to use the gifts that God has bestowed on me to enrich my life, community, and relationship with Him through this publication.”
Mrs. Thomas said in an interview that she used her own funds to publish the first issue and expects to pay for future issues through the sale of advertising. The paper provides news and information about Christian events to local readers.
A former Jehovah's Witness who is now a Baptist, Mrs. Thomas said, “This paper is who I am. It's about some of the struggles I have had in the past and about my sensitivity to God and people of different faiths. It seemed like a natural thing for me to do.”
She said she also is aware that many people are going to church and searching for answers in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks and she wanted to provide them with a resource.
A journalist, marketing and public relations professional, and photographer for 18 years, Mrs. Thomas said she hopes the publication will become metropolitan Toledo's source for Christian news and information.
The paper has a circulation of 20,000 copies that Mrs. Thomas estimates reach 42,000 readers. It is being circulated to churches, faith-based organizations, schools, libraries, businesses, and community centers.
Included in the first issue are several pages of local, national, and international news, including reports by the Evangelical Press Association news service; an events calendar; professional services directory, and two pages of “multi-faith prayers for peace” from the Hindu, Muslim, Baha'i, Sikh, Buddhist, and other traditions.
Mrs. Thomas said although her publication is a Christian newspaper she wanted to let people know she is willing to report on issues dealing with Muslims and Jews as well.
She is operating the publication with a staff that includes two salespeople and a designer out of her home.