How The Pour Over Started
“I used to have many Gospel conversations. People would ask what I wanted to do, and I would tell them I planned to go into ministry. When I began working in corporate America, those conversations were cut off. Part of the value of TPO early on was being able to say, ‘I work at Dish, but I do this Christian news thing on the side.’ I didn’t want my identity wrapped up in my job.”
The Official Launch of The Pour Over
“The first email we sent in May 2018 was to six friends. The goal was to say, ‘Hey, I want to summarize the news and try to take it from a Christian perspective. World events from a Christian perspective aren’t done. There are a lot of commentaries. So I want to try this; hold me accountable.”
How The Pour Over Chooses Their Topics
“I’m not a pastor, so I’m not going to write a long-form analysis or thoughtful theological reflections on something. However, there was a gap because the only option for learning about the day’s biggest news was opinionated news sources measured on a political scale.
You have liberal, conservative, and neutral sources. Very few people try to pair these events with their faith immediately when they happen. By the time a longer-form article has been written on something, most people have heard about it ten times from their politically motivated news source.
What if Christians could stay informed, be aware of what’s happening, and be encouraged not to separate that from their faith? Our goal is to write in a politically neutral and engaging way, and we have writers from across the political spectrum to ensure that everyone feels like their side is fairly represented.
We aren’t providing specific directions for how a Christian should respond, think, act, or vote. All we do is present what happened and give a reminder of foundational biblical truth to help people think about their faith and the news together.”
How The Pour Over Reports Truth Instead of Giving Their Opinions
“By the time we’ve explained what’s happening, we try to insert a joke or something to keep it entertaining. We don’t have much space to give our opinion on what’s happening. We have people from both sides that sign off on all the stories. Our goal is to be politically neutral because we care much more about your faith and your relationship with God. You shouldn’t look to your politicians or leaders to decide how you feel.
We aim to help people remember that we need to love everyone, even the person that the story inherently makes you not want to love. It doesn’t matter that much when you zoom out and think about it in the context and light of eternity. Every source we pull from is political. And so we try to read a bit of everything, distill it, and present the facts.”
How The Pour Over Stays on Mission in Their Content
“TPO has a specific scope and mission and is a tool; it does not reflect my response to these things. There needs to be more ability to know what’s happening without being told how to feel about it. We don’t want people to come and look at The Pour Over the same way they would look to a pastor. Part of what we do and why we limit ourselves is because there are people in the kingdom that are better equipped to call out sin as sin. So to say that we will have the correct, thoughtful, prayerful response is not the case. We want to be a tool to equip everyone, including pastors and leaders, and we want people to take this and build off of it, but we aren’t trying to do absolutely everything.”
How The Pour Over Adheres to Their Value of Unconditional Love
“The goal of being politically neutral is that we don’t tell you who to vote for. It is not that we are unwilling to say that abortion is wrong. When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, we reported on it and presented what happened. We removed any tone of celebration. Our Christian perspective was that, above all, we are called to unconditional love.
We said, ‘we’re called to love everyone, and that includes mothers, unborn children, and people that disagree with you on abortion. It was around 20 words because there’s no secret what a mainstream Christian’s response to this was.
We’re just not going to speak about it that much. We don’t offer a whole lot of commentary. It’s not what we do. We report and try to pair it with what people need to hear right now. They dont need a verse explaining why abortion is wrong. What they need to hear right now as Christians is a verse telling them that they need to love someone who disagrees with them on abortion.”
How The Consolidation of Social Media Content Impacts The Pour Over
“The lack of thoughtfulness and ease of everyone having a platform to respond is not ideal. At TPO, we are struggling to consolidate our content for Tik Tok. We feel too thoughtful and expansive for this little thing, even though we are a concise, truncated news source. It’s also why we’re a newsletter first. I love the newsletter format because there are no comments. Of course, you can get our news on Instagram, but what people say, how many likes it gets, and the responses shape your view.
Even if we write a neutral thing, if you open and read a bunch of one-sided comments, it no longer feels like we wrote a neutral thing. If The Pour Over is the only news source you engage with, the hope is that you are informed broadly about what’s happening while getting biblical reminders. There are also opportunities to click in and learn more. If we cite an article, people can get more information and fact-check us.”
Jason Woodruff’s Thoughts on The Brevity of Social Media
“I hope we have peaked in internet irresponsibility. Technology moves so quickly, and we must adopt it even if we don’t understand the impacts immediately. Once we do, we start solving for those. We mitigated the downside and kept some of the benefits. I do expect there will be a swing back. What’s hard is that there’s an entire screen generation. I worry and wonder what will happen. As a society, we will figure out how to maintain many benefits without continually giving more and more of our soul and time to tech that has no value.”
The Most Common Criticism The Pour Over Receives.
“I would say there’s a bucket of people that are critical of what The Pour Over does. For example, ‘How you select stories is just perpetuating the same stupid stuff.’ That is valid. We intentionally cover the most visible news of the day, regardless of spiritual significance, because we want to help people process what they’re already going to hear.
We are not raising awareness of important things that are happening. Some people are just angry and enjoy shouting into the internet. They’ll say, ‘this is wrong, and you need to get your news from some other source.’ Some people offer lousy feedback, and others provide genuinely helpful criticism about some things we say.
We also have people tell us we said something that is false or misspelled a word. What is remarkable is in each one of those categories, there are kind and hateful versions of everyone. To me, the fascinating comments are very kind but incorrect feedback. They are so kind and generous and thoughtful, but demonstrably wrong.”
Why People Should Check Out The Pour Over
“We hope to keep people informed and focused on Christ. It was originally a newsletter (our flagship product) and our podcast. All that news is also on Instagram and our Instagram stories, and some additional Instagram-only content is posted.”
About Jason Woodruff And The Pour Over
Jason Woodruff is a pastor’s son who received his MBA from the University of Iowa. When he entered the workforce, The Pour Over was a personal exercise on the side. However, it quickly became his main focus as it began to grow. As the founder of TPO, Jason currently serves as CEO and editor-in-chief. TPO has over 230,000 newsletter readers, 50,000 podcast listeners, and 86,000+ Instagram followers. 1`
How The Pour Over selects their stories
How they write their Christian sections
For more inContext interviews, click here.