By Paul Tuns

The Interim

LifeSite Daily News is one of the most important pro-life, pro-family news sources available and it is beginning to have a major influence. Editor John-Henry Westen told The Interim that recent news stories that LifeSite has covered have slowly seeped into the mainstream media. He notes the story of Father Tony Van Hee who was abused by NDP MP Svend Robinson in December. LifeSite first covered the story on December 17 and followed up with a full report on December 20. After a pro-life MP read the story he wrote a letter to Svend Robinson and shortly thereafter the mainstream media, including the National Post, Ottawa Citizen, Vancouver Sun and Vancouver Province reported on the incident. “The story would have gone totally unnoticed,” Westen said, “if the media didn’t pick up our coverage.”

Sometimes, though, the media doesn’t cover important stories at all and when they do, they have a pro-abortion, anti-family bias. Westen trolls the Internet for stories in the daily newspapers, magazines, medical journals, broadcast networks, press releases and organizations and companies and replaces the media’s liberal spin on stories with pro-life, pro-family analysis. Also, additional news is added from LifeSite’s and The Interim’s own network of news sources; and frequent calls are made across Canada, to the U.S., and overseas, to verify story details and obtain more information.

Concise and easy to use

LifeSite Daily News, Westen said, “is a personal daily news service in a concise format that is easy to read but which also provides original source links for those who want to do more research.” LifeSite managing director Steve Jalsevac said that is important for life and family leaders and activists who want the information they need but don’t have time to search for it themselves. Jalsevac said LifeSite Daily News provides a lot of information without overwhelming the reader. “You’re not drowning in it,” he said, noting that that is the case so often with Internet information services. Another advantage of LifeSite is its immediacy. Westen said pro-lifers can respond to events as they develop and he noted that LifeSite has led e-mail campaigns against pharmaceutical companies that produce abortifacient drugs and toward politicians when legislation on life and family issues is being considered. Interim columnist Tim Bloedow provides regular reports from Ottawa on developments in Parliament, assists in the editing of the news and fills in for Westen when he is unavailable.

Exhaustive research

LifeSite Daily News covers both Canadian and international news on everything from abortion, euthanasia and homosexuality to genetic research, contraception, and the United Nation’s attempts to usurp national sovereignty through the International Criminal Court. Westen reports that the comprehensiveness and reliability of the service means LifeSite is a valuable source of information to reporters, politicians, pro-life leaders and activists and anyone concerned about such issues. Indeed, there are journalists and pro-life politicians that receive and depend upon LifeSite for a fresh perspective on important life and family issues. LifeSite allows people “to stay on top of things,” says Westen. As a result of Westen’s exhaustive research, LifeSite was ready to report on the abortifacient Preven long before the dormant mainstream media realized the human pesticide was okayed by the federal government. “But there are things we miss, so please, if we didn’t report on something that we should have, contact us at”

Other than up-to-date news, LifeSite, which received 500,000 hits over a recent three-month period, offers Interim and Campaign Life Coalition National News archives, special reports on important issues, full election coverage and candidate information, notices of up-coming events, information on abortion methods and fetal development, prayer requests, and links to other life and family resources and organizations.

During the past few months LifeSite has been undergoing a major revamp and the addition of new items. The home page has been reorganized. It loads much quicker and is structured to make it easier to find information on the site. The three separate search utilities have been combined into one handy Search for the whole site, which is very handy for students and researchers. A new section on the 2000 March for Life has been added with lots of details on the March as well as photos and a 60 second promotional video. Andrew Fournier’s Pilgrimage for Life now has a page with daily updates on Andrew’s progress as he walks across Canada. There is even an audio recording of the world-wide broadcast of Andrew’s interview with Vatican radio when he was in Nova Scotia. LifeSite viewers can now safely donate on-line to support the site, Campaign Life Coalition or Andrew’s Pilgrimage and items can be purchased on-line. The number of items for sale on the site will soon be expanding to items such as audio cassettes, books, videos and more. Response to this is needed to cover the growing costs of what is fast becoming an essential service for life and family.

Michael Coren on LifeSite

The most significant new addition has been the exclusive Real Audio broadcasts on current events by media personality and author Michael Coren. These daily three minute broadcasts are an exciting pioneering project by LifeSite which is in effect setting up its own radio/television station. Anyone from around the world can now hear Michael Coren’s incisive, life and family affirming commentary on issues of the day. Michael is excited about this and hopes that he will receive lots of email responses to the broadcasts. Steve Jalsevac mentions that the Internet advantage is that Michael’s daily broadcasts or any other media items on lifeSite can be listened to or viewed at any time and can be heard over and over. Michael Coren’s most recent 10 broadcasts will always be accessible. Jalsevac encourages Interim readers to spread the word far and wide about this new pro-life and pro-family media service.

Other new additions

Steve Jalsevac states that the LifeSite team is also developing a complete list of Canadian centers for women facing crisis pregnancies, and a comprehensive list of MPs, senators, and provincial representatives with all their addresses and contact information. David Cooke, from Walkerton, Ontario and a former programmer for the Billy Graham website, has just been added to the team to assist professional webmaster Tony Casta. David will be bringing some fascinating new, specialized programming skills to LifeSite that will further improve the usability of the site. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, Tony and his young family were involved in a serious car accident which injured Tony and his wife and totalled their vehicle, which was not insured for collision. The Castas are recovering at home but prayers are encouraged for them as they cope with the trauma and physical pain caused by this incident. Jalsevac said he would like to see LifeSite grow far quicker and that he has numerous other projects that urgently should and could be done. He believes that the potential for LifeSite to assist the cause of life and family is enormous – far beyond what most people realize. The major stumbling block is limited resources. He asks individuals and corporations that may be interested in sponsoring the site to contact him at (416) 204-1687. He believes that many will want to become a part of this professionally created, high quality and up-and-coming project.