Gene Jackson, a former printing executive and seller of character bears, has a big vision. He hopes to transform a local West Coast monthly newspaper into "the nation's faith newspaper" for Christians and Christian outreach. But first he'll have to overcome the fallout from multiple failed business partnerships.

In February, Kingdom Ventures, Inc., Jackson's publicly traded firm in Minden, Nevada, near Lake Tahoe, launched Christian Times Today. The publishers of this monthly broadsheet hope to circulate it in 70 cities through a network of 10,000 churches and retail outlets. According to the company's website, the circulation of the paper is 500,000. (Kingdom Ventures, Inc., is not associated with a charity of the same name in Massachusetts.)

"We're spending the money and making the effort to have the look and feel of a USA Today, but with a Christian voice," said Susan Caliger, national operations director. The paper includes news articles, features, advertising, and commentary by David Limbaugh, John Maxwell, and Dave Ramsey.

Growth story

About 100 newspapers in North America belong to the Christian Newspaper Association (CNA). Most of them are small in circulation, budget, and staff. Christian Times Today is not a CNA member. CNA reports its members have a monthly total circulation of 2.7 million, up about 50 percent from 1994. By comparison, total daily newspaper circulation has declined about 7 percent since 1994. Most Christian newspapers are distributed free through churches locally, but they collaborate for nationwide ad campaigns.

The promise of an American newspaper that advocates Christian values dates to the 18th century. But journalism historian Michael Smith, chair of the Department of Mass Communication at ...

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