“Faith in Every Footstep CD-ROM Sent to Media,” Ensign, July 1997, 78
In a trailblazing effort to inform the media about the early LDS pioneers and the Church, the Church’s Public Affairs Department produced a 600-megabyte compact disc and sent it to 20,000 media sources, half outside the USA. The disc, Faith in Every Footstep, guides the media through video and audio clips, text, photos, and pioneer journal entries, allowing them to have a more accurate look at the pioneers’ lives and the lives of Church members today.
Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and chairman of the Church Sesquicentennial Committee, said the disc will make it possible for the media to “walk the trail with the pioneers and listen to their stories of faith and sacrifice.”
Through the disc, viewers are taken on a video tour of the early pioneer trail, the Church today, the restored gospel, and sesquicentennial events. Detailed maps follow the pioneer trail through Chimney Rock, Fort Laramie, Independence Rock, Big Mountain, and other historic pioneer trail locations. Reporters can read the history and pioneer experiences of each location. “There are 120 pioneer journal entries on the disc,” Elder Ballard said, “all of them seen on the screen and voiced by narrators.”
“The disc is a virtual library of information covering not only the history of the Church and the pioneer trek but also providing information about the Church today in all 50 states and in 57 nations,” said Elder Ballard.
“This is the first time the Public Affairs Department has created something like this to go to the media,” says Val Edwards, a department staff member, about this pioneer effort to inform the media about the Church. Brother Edwards directed the efforts to collect material for the disc, and Brent Peterson, a member of the Church and vice president of photography and news media for ABC Television in New York City, handled the technical production.
“The disc localizes the sesquicentennial for the media,” said Brother Edwards. Reporters can access information about general Church membership, membership in their area, and even local spokespeople for the Church. For example, after clicking on an area of the world such as Asia, a reporter can select Thailand and find the number of Church members in the country, how long they have been there, and a wealth of other information.
General information about the Church is included on the disc to help viewers understand more about Church practices and beliefs. Information and statistics are available about missionaries, missions, family values, and the Word of Wisdom. Also, there are biographical sketches of Church leaders and interviews with well-known members. Further, there is a style guide where journalists can find correct names for Church-related references.