By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
ALEXANDRIA – By unanimous vote, trustees of the Baptist Message, the news journal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, elected Will Hall as editor of the state newspaper and digital media outlet.
David Hankins, executive director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, also named Hall director of the office of public affairs for the state convention.
“I am extremely excited about the election tion of Will Hall as the editor of the Baptist Message and director of Public Affairs,” Hankins said. “Dr. Hall’s outstanding credentials, fruitful experience and Christian character will be a blessing to Louisiana Baptists as he leads us to communicate the message of Christ to our churches and our culture.”
Message Board Chairman Tim Hisaw expressed similar views on the election of Hall.
“We are blessed to have Will Hall come on board to lead the Baptist Message,” said Hisaw, pastor of Tioga First Baptist Church. “When we looked at the candidates, Will rose to the top. The future of the Baptist Message looks bright with Will at the helm.”
Hall most recently was executive editor and director of operations for the Christian Examiner, helping launch the digital news service in October 2014.
He previously served for 10 years as vice president for news services with the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee where he helped expand the reach and reputation of the SBC’s news service, Baptist Press, and developed strategic communications. He also was press representative for the national body.
During his tenure, Baptist Press expanded its monthly readership footprint to about 5 million combined in hard copy and the Internet, having launched a sports division and weekly Hispanic version of Baptist Press and increased its network of publishing partners.
Hall said he was honored to join the Baptist Message team and to represent the churches of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to contribute to the strong legacy of journalism that defines the Baptist Message,” he said. “I also look forward to working with our government officials to promote public policies that reflect the values and interests of Louisiana Baptists.”
“Catherine and I are delighted to be part of the Louisiana Baptist family,” he added.
Hall retired as a naval aviator in 1998 after having directed all academic programs for leadership development at the U.S. Naval Academy as a university department chair equivalent.
He also served as a politico-military planner with the Joint Staff at the Pentagon in the strategic plans and policies directorate, among other operational and staff assignments.
He holds a bachelor’s degree from the United States Naval Academy and master’s degrees from the George Washington University and Harvard University. He earned his doctorate from Vanderbilt University where he completed research about the effects of executives’ advice seeking behavior on strategic decision making and the subsequent impact on organizational performance.
He and his wife Catherine have three sons, and are members of the First Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tenn.
Hall is the 2015 winner of the Bo Pilgrim Award for evangelism.
In addition to the election of Hall, the trustees also previewed the new website the Baptist Message will launch, with a target date of June 4.
The website will be much more user friendly than the current one the newspaper uses. More details will come later.
The board also learned about the intergration of new software for the maintaining of records of subscriptions, billing and financials to the Baptist Message by ACS Technologies.
The new system will make it easier to send lists to churches and individual subscribers electronically, update their files and streamline billing statements.
Staff members detailed the purchase of new equipment, a media kit for advertising and a kit to assist in marketing the Message.