Why is it so controversial?*“The substance of religion points to another world beyond this one” -This suggests that in our world some accept faith and beliefs as fact while others perceive the same beliefs as fiction.*The people journalists are reporting on are often inspired or affected by faith.
Why is it so controversial?*A large portion of the audience journalists are writing to are often affected in some way or another by faith.*The touchiest societal debates we engage in often point us back to scripture.*Religion is the most pervasive yet least understood topic in global life.*Religion is a very personal thing.
“ A reluctant story“Religion is a hard-sell story to many news media. Sometimes it is the journalists themselves reluctant to cover stories involving faith and churches; sometimes, it is the media organizations for which they work.”As a BYU graduate would you be cautious to take on a hard hitting story covering a religion or religious topic?What skills does it take?
Importance“Religion is the most important topic out there. It matters to nearly everyone even to atheists and agnostics. It affects nearly everything- from how we raise and educate kids, to how we make and spend our money, to how we run corporations, communities, and even countries.” p. 87With the constant attempt to separate church and state how do we deal with that as journalists when what were reporting on is both indirectly and direct affected by religion, people who have religious beliefs?
The books recommendations:1. Remember the context is the key to the complete reporting of a story.2. Distinguish between the group and the action3. Consider a religion section.4. Accentuate religion close to home
Shedding Light“How can people engage in a conversation about faith and its implications in a way that sheds light rather than generates heat?”http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=nkUC5CIi9Ew
Common theme in this class: we always have bias going into an event but we need to strive to be objective. “It’s false that a reporter can unplug his ideology and somehow become neutral” p.85How do you deal with being objective but still being a light to the world?
Resources for Religion Writers• Religion News-writers Association (RNA) o non-profit; encourage excellence in religion writing;interactive forum for writers• Poynter Institute o "All news is religious news. Thats not a statement of faith or an assertion about the importance of religion to society. Rather, its a lot like saying all news is political news because theres nothing thats not touched by some politicians interests...Religion is the same way, with tendrils of connection to everything. Sept. 11 has made that more obvious than ever in modern history."
Religion in a Post 9/11 Worldhttp://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/world/ 2011/09/15/ctw-anderson-911-religion- debate.cnn#/video/world/2011/09/15/ctw- anderson-911-religion-debate.cnn
Department of Religion and Classics• University of Rochester study--->>assessed how American newspapers reported on religion: o religion is mentioned far more than it is the subject of the story o religion is widely used as criterion for identity
A Journalists Own Religion• What role, if any, should a journalists own religious beliefs play in deciding which stories to cover, and in the way the story is covered/portrayed?
"Journalism and religion is a tough mix.Religion depends on faith, and journalismdemands proof." - Jim Robertson, editor of Columbia Daily Tribune
Mike Huckabee vs. Jim RobertsonHuckabee: "considers it an extraordinarily shallow faith that does not really impact the way we think about other human beings and the way we respond."Robertson: "I have to believe its possible to practice journalism at the highest standards of balance and fairness and still retain a religious faith."
Fair and Balanced Reporting• should a journalist be expected to report on a story that they deem unarguably unethical, according to their own faith?• or, report on a story they believe in but that the majority of others dont?
Faith-Based Journalistic Organizations• Christian-based World Journalism Institute• Washington Journalism Center
Faith-Based MediaBroadcast• These organizations want to present the news in accordance with their faith, beliefs, and values.• Christian Broadcast Network has several different programs that share religion-- related stories, and reporting with faith- based commentary.• The 700 Club
Faith-Based MediaPrint• Several magazines focus on news and opinions with different religious perspectives.• On the website of Commentary, a magazine of the Jewish faith, it says: o “Since its inception in 1945, and increasingly after it emerged as the flagship of neoconservatism in the 1970s, the magazine has been consistently engaged with several large, interrelated questions: the fate of democracy and of democratic ideas in a world threatened by totalitarian ideologies; the state of American and Western security; the future of the Jews, Judaism, and Jewish culture in Israel, the United States, and around the world; and the preservation of high culture in an age of political correctness and the collapse of critical standards” (Willis, 100).
Faith-Based MediaPrint• The Christian Century• http://www.christiancentury.org
Stepping Into Anothers Faith• As a journalist and a reporter, we will be required to step into the experiences of other people. We may or may not relate to them, but it will be necessary to take their backstories into account.• “A reporter should try to let the adherents of a faith define their belief system rather than filtering that system through the reporter’s own beliefs” (Willis, 101).
Barry BearakHe wrote a story about a group of Catholics in Texas, and it won him a national writing award. He is Jewish.
“I don’t know that journalists are tone deaf to religion, but they certainly have trouble playing the tune in newspapers. Daily newspapers aren’t so good at the day-to-day things that pack most of the meaning into life. That would include religion, but it also includes love and family and friendship. I’ve always thought newspapers ought to do more with the crossroads events in everyday lives: the day we had to put Mom in a nursing home, the day Joe quit the factory and opened a bait and tackle shop, the day jack and Jill dropped their kid off at college, the day Bill decided to become a priest, and the day Bill yielded to his doubts and dropped out of seminary. The joys and pains of everyday life” (Willis, 102).
This can relate to religion and to life in general. As journalists, it’s important that we not ignore these stories. They’re hard to write, but talented journalists can do it.· Religion is such a huge part of some people’s lives, that it’s important to understand how to address it. It will require stepping into the shoes of others and truly trying to relate.
An Ongoing Tension• “Advocating any particular faith or belief system in their news and feature stories runs counter to most journalistic orientations and to the nature of daily journalism itself” (Willis, 103).• There is a tension between journalism and religion. Journalism is about what is happening now, and religion often centers on another realm and what happened before and after this life. Because of this, journalists find it hard to cover religion, and religious people sometimes cannot accept journalism.
As a journalist, how would you present the news in a way that gets religious people to accept it as a valid source on the sect you are reporting on?
A Final Thought• Willis says that he didn’t know if there would be enough material on faith and religion in relation to journalism to write an entire chapter on. He “discovered that journalists pay as much or more attention to issues of religion and faith as to any other.” As a result, this chapter is the longest in the book.• It is important.
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