AND MEDIA INTEREST GROUP NEWS
MATTERS Spring 2005
The Newsletter of the Religion and Media Interest Group
of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
1. Editor's Introduction
2. Covering Multiculturalism/Covering Religion
3. A Note from the Research Chair
4. AEJMC Convention-RMIG Call for Paper
5. AEJMC Convention-RMIG Schedule
6. Asbury Student Wins $500 Student Religion
7. Media, Religion and Culture Dissertation
RMIG Newsletter editor
articles in this newsletter look at the future of religion and
media in practice, teaching and research.
Longinow examines how multiculturalism has affected him both
personally and professionally. If we are to train tomorrow's
quality religion newswriters, we must teach them to be sensitive
to the cultures from which the religious flavors are born.
Chair Guy Golan looks at the RMIG papers of the past few years
and current issues to suggest ideas for future research. (Not
coincidentally, the research paper call for the AEJMC convention
in San Antonio follows Guy's article, as does the schedule for
the RMIG events.)
Mason features some of the outstanding future religion writers.
The winners of the Religious Newswriters Association student
contest for religious reporting are listed below, along with
links to some of the award-winning articles.
be sure to note the media, religion and culture dissertation
fellowships offered through the University of Colorado at Boulder.
These $12,000 awards ought to be a welcome help for the future
religion and media scholars trying to finance their dissertation
hope the RMIG newsletter will prove to be edifying in our exploration
of the marriage of religion and media. I invite you to write
share your announcements and musings with us through the newsletter
or the listserv. I look forward to hearing from you at email@example.com.
By Michael A. Longinow
Professor of Journalism
older I get, the more I'm convinced multiculturalism is not hooey.
It's real. I say it because I feel it, but the numbers are out
there to support the notion that the journalism we¹re teaching
our students is going to be stuff they have to wrestle with in
an increasingly non-white national media landscape. As journalism
educators who care about religion and media, we should care the
most about what multicultural journalism means, why it matters,
and how we're helping it happen.
half Mexican and half Ukrainian. As a kid growing up at the edge
of Chicago, I heard a lot of Spanish in word and music, and I
saw a bit of printed Spanish in media around the homes of my
Mom's family. When we visited Dad's side, the chatter was Russian
or Ukrainian with a little Yiddish tossed in. I heard Russian
music, too, and saw magazines and newspapers with that tough-looking
Cyrillic text. It was thick stuff, this diversity of language
and culture. As a kid, I loathed it. I clung to my generic, suburban
American friends and asked no questions about their ethnicity.
Despite the white flight that raged through my neighborhood in
the 1960s, I ended up with few African-American neighbors, but
I had a few. We just hung out rather than talk about race.
it surprised me that one of the fears I had in moving South was
that I'd lose touch with the ethnicities of the Windy City and
its environs. I shouldn't have worried. When I got to the Atlanta-area
to work as a reporter, one of my stories was about Afghan soldiers
airlifted to area hospitals for orthopedic surgery and rehab.
Factories sprouted up in our area run by Asian business leaders
who struggled with English but had management skills that were
astounding. A Shinto priest took part in the dedication and ribbon-cutting
of one of those factory sites. It was the mid-1980s and waves
of regional Hispanic migration had begun hitting the Georgia
economy resulting in stories in our business, education, and
I didn't see enough of in the 1980s was journalism that went
beyond mere demographic data-crunching. The journalism I saw
rarely went beyond references to ethnic minority groups. It didn't
dig into the deeper stories of those groups. Even less did I
see the encouragement of media aimed directly at these groups
in Spanish, in Chinese, in Arabic, written with a clear, contextualized
understanding of the cultures that comprised these groups. And
I never asked why. Shame on me.
seeing more and more that the media of ethnic groups is something
that is growing around the edges of the American media marketplace.
One voice for change has been from people of faith. But we're
all familiar with the story about why they don't get the microphone.
In some places the media voice of ethnic groups is louder and
crisper than others. I'm glad to see it growing in Kentucky.
And our recent mid-Winter meeting in San Antonio brought home
to me that Texas really is part of that big demographic swing:
census estimates tell us the Lone Star State, along with California,
New York, and Florida will not only contribute a third of all
the youth to this nation, a good number of those young people
will be non-white. That's not just demographic drivel to me.
It used to be. But for the first time in my life, the personal
and professional are merging. I'm seeing that the notion of readership-sensitivity
and audience-targeting are concepts that have an element of the
human in them. People read what matters to them where they live:
at home, in learning environments like schools, and community
centers, and city soccer fields, and churches, synagogues or
mosques. It's stuff that people talk about and wave around in
bars, and coffee shops, and fast-food restaurants on Tuesday
nights or Saturday mornings. The journalism that will matter
to them, that they'll cut out of the paper or magazine and stick
on the refrigerator or hand-carry across town to a friend, that
they'll interrupt by running to the phone and telling someone
to turn on the TV, is media that dialogues with them. It's media
that listens before it speaks. It's media that goes beyond seeking
from the reader; It begins with a "WOW" from the reporter
and editor and photo staff. It's the stuff that asks questions
the multi-ethnic community thought no journalist would ever ask.
Because they thought journalists were clueless about their people,
their culture, their ways. Some of them very old ways.
is not rocket science. It's harder because it requires us, as
American journalists, to think beyond ourselves and what we thought
worked. But, then, future-thinking has always been like that.
I hope RMIG picks up this challenge and runs with it in years
Note from the Research Chair
By Guy Golan
Louisiana State University
is with great enthusiasm that I volunteered to serve as the research
chair for the Religion and Media Interest Group this year. I
have been an active member of this wonderful interest group for
more than four years now and have witnessed its expansion in
terms of both membership numbers and scope of research. As the
April first deadline approaches for this year's AEJMC paper submission
deadlines, I feel it is important to reflect on our field of
analysis of paper abstracts presented in our interest group over
the past years highlights several key areas of research focus:
coverage of religious groups by the mass media, analyses of religious
imagery and language in media campaigns and attitudes of religious
groups towards the mass media. The following titles exemplify
these research areas: Independent News Web Sites' Coverage
of Religious Freedom and Restraints on Religion in Central Asia by
Eric Freedman and Maureen Walton; The Detroit Newspapers'
Coverage of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit Before
and During the Newspaper Strike by Geri Alumit Zeldes; The
President and the Marketing of American Civil Religion by
Andrea Allen and Religious Beliefs, Media Use, and Wishful
Thinking in the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election by Barry
these three areas of research are somewhat prevalent, they are
in no way the only areas of religion and media that scholars
focus on. The current war on terror, social issues such as school
prayer and gay marriage as well as religion and popular culture
all provide wonderful opportunities for scholarship.
area that I expect to be key to research on religion is the national
debate over stem cell research, genetics and abortion. The issue
of media, religion and the body often leads headlines in terms
of coverage. As the media provides national as well as local
platforms for these important debates, media scholars have an
important role to perform.
beyond research topics, I believe that the diversity of our members
will lead to a diversity of research methods utilized in relevant
research. A close examination of papers presented during past
years reveals that qualitative research, as well as critical
cultural work, are the leading methodological approaches in our
field. I would argue that the application of a quantitative approach
to the study of religion and the media would be beneficial as
it will allow for a more comprehensive understanding of the field
when triangulated with widely utilized qualitative approach.
I would like to ask all RMIG members to reach out to our colleagues
and our students and to tell them about the Religion and Media
Interest Group at AEJMC. We must all keep in mind that the future
and success of our interest group largely depends on our ability
to grow and diversify in terms of both membership and research
focus and approach. To quote Plato: "The learning and knowledge
that we have, is, at the most, but little compared with that
of which we are ignorant."
am hopeful that you will all submit research papers to our interest
group this year and am looking forward to seeing you all in San
Again, the paper submission information is:
Dr. Guy Golan
RMIG Research Chair
211 Journalism Building
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-7202
Convention-RMIG Call for Papers
Religion and Media Interest Group invites submission of research
on any topic related to religion and media. RMIG is interested
in papers using any recognized research method and any recognized
citation style. Please note that RMIG is interested in research
presentations, rather than essays or commentary. Possible areas
of focus for the research include but are not limited to studies
of religious group members and uses of secular media, exploration
of media coverage of religious issues and groups, studies of
the audiences for religious news, media strategies of religious
organizations, religious advertising, religious and spiritual
content in popular culture, and so on. The competition is open
to both faculty and students.
will be considered for presentation for research panels and a
research poster session. IMPORTANT: Please follow the guidelines
for the AEJMC Uniform Call for Papers. Please note the maximum
length of 25 pages, excluding endnotes and tables. Presentation:
The best papers will be presented at the AEJMC 2005 convention;
thus, an author must be there. Top Papers - The RMIG Division
is also sponsoring an "Award Winning Paper" competition
for top faculty and student papers at this year's convention.
The "Top" paper in each category will be selected from
among the refereed papers submitted to the RMIG competition.
The top paper winners will receive $100 and a certificate. In
the case of multi-authored papers, all authors must be students
to qualify for the Top Student Paper award. All submissions must
be sent Priority or First Class and must be postmarked by April
1, 2005, and must be received by April 6, 2005, for consideration.
submissions should be sent to: Guy Golan (RMIG Research Chair),
Manship School of Mass Communication Louisiana State University,
211 Journalism Building, Baton Rouge, LA 70803; firstname.lastname@example.org.
August 9; 5:30 to 10 pm Preconference Workshop
There will be more information on the preconference workshop, but
if you'd like to weigh in on your preferences, that'd be great.
The workshop will be on analyzing religion in film and television
and we'll also have a speaker on current trends in the social theory
of religion. We're cosponsoring this with the Entertainment Studies
Interest Group, so I think we'll have some lively discussion.
10 to 11:30 am Refereed Research Session
8:15 to 9:45 am Refereed Research Session
3:15 to 4:45 pm PF&R Panel with Entertainment Studies on
5:00 to 6:30 pm Refereed Research Session
8:30 to 10 pm RMIG Members' Meeting
7:00 to 8:00 am RMIG Executive Meeting (but all are welcome!)
8:15 to 9:45 am Teaching Panel with Scholastic on Religious and
11:45 am to 1:15 pm Scholar to Scholar (RMIG has 7 slots)
1:30 to 3:00 pm PF&R Panel with Minorities and Comm. on Immigration
8:15 to 9:45 am PF&R Panel with PR on Catholic scandal and
Student Wins $500 Student Religion Writing Contest
Religion Newswriters Association
Asbury College student has won the nation's only student contest
for religion reporting.
Religion Newswriters Association presented student Andrew Olsen
with the Chandler Student Religion Reporter of the Year Award
and a check for $500 last fall at its annual meeting. The award
also pays the travel of the winner to receive the award.
for this year's Chandler Student Religion Reporter of the Year
award are due by May 1, but can be submitted any time before
that. There is a $15 entry fee and forms are available at http://www.rna.org/chandler.php.
winners from last fall and their stories are (we've linked to
the articles when possible):
place: Andrew Olsen, Asbury College
A pastor accused, a congregation torn
When court becomes chapel
Say a little prayer for you
place: William Nathan Ross Todd, University of Missouri
searching: Journey of faith takes many roads for new immigrants
in the presence of Swami
a holy house
place (tie): Jeffrey LaBroad, Boston College
Last rites: Possibility of church closings a
concern for local parishes
Bishops consider banning speakers
'Renewal' kickoff event opens dialogue
place (tie): Amanda Michaels, University of Notre Dame
A higher calling
ND students continue to flock to Mass
Mass forges friendship, community
must submit three news or feature articles printed in academic
year 2004-05. They can be published in a student publication
or during an internship at a general circulation newspaper. Online-only
content is not eligible.
you have any questions, please contact Debra Mason, executive
director of RNA, at mason@RNA.org.
Please encourage your students to enter or solicit entries from
your student newspaper staff.
Chandler Award is funded by former Los Angeles Times Religion
Reporter Russell Chandler and his wife, M.L. Chandler is a former
president of RNA and longtime member of the group.
Religion and Culture Dissertation Fellowships
School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University
of Colorado, Boulder welcomes applications for the 2005-06 academic
year for a dissertation fellowship program in media, religion,
and culture. Three one-year fellowship grants of $12,000 each
will be awarded to doctoral students/candidates at the dissertation
proposal-writing stage, or who are in the first year after the
dissertation proposal is approved. Deadline is April 5, 2005.
Applications are available online at www.mediareligion.org/.
program is supported by a grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc.
For further information, contact Scott Webber, Webbers@colorado.edu,
Stewart Hoover, email@example.com,
or Lynn Schofield Clark, firstname.lastname@example.org.