AND MEDIA INTEREST GROUP NEWS
MATTERS Summer 2006
The Newsletter of the Religion and Media Interest Group
of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
2. The Chair's Corner
3. Panels Present Special Topics of Interest
4. RMIG Acknowledgements and Applause
5. Connecting with the Religion News Reader
6. RMIG Needs Your Help
7. Reviewers wanted
Crystal Y. Lumpkins
RMIG Newsletter editor
been quite a year as we look back at several news events that
touched on religion and media issues. Some of those issues covered
quite extensively in the media included the academic and church
debate over intelligent design to stories on the court battles
over constitutional issues of marriage and freedom of speech.
A variety of topics such as these has been featured in the RMIG
newsletters and will be the topic of discussion at the upcoming
AEJMC Convention in San Francisco; RMIG Vice-Head and Program
Chair Amanda Sturgill highlights these panels in this issue and
the painstaking process that it took to actually get them nailed
this issue readers also will have an opportunity to get a jump
start on recently released books. RMIG members and officers Hillary
Warren and Ralph Frasca have written books that are sure to make
a buzz in both academia and the mainstream media. RMIG's annual
report also is available for newsletter readers. And as always,
we showcase our members recent achievements and accomplishments;
one such accomplishment is University of Missouri's Cassandra
Fruest's completion of her Master's Project that aimed to assist
religion editors and reporters parallel the coverage to that
of the community's needs.
hope that this issue will give you an overview of the Religion
and Media Special Interest group and invite you to join us in
have thoroughly enjoyed working with the newsletter and hope
that you have found it helpful and informative. Thanks to the
RMIG committee and all the readers for your support and continued
RMIG ChairGoodbye and Thank you.
like to start this with a thank you to Amanda Sturgill, Ralph
Frasca, Crystal Lumpkins and Eleanor Block who kept the interest
group on track with programming, research, communication and
organizational work this year. As I was writing the annual report
to send to AEJMC, I was able to note growth in many of our target
areas and much of the progress can be attributed to the officers.
If you'd like to read our annual report, it is available here (MSWord
make plans to attend our annual meeting, which will be on Thursday,
Aug. 3 at 6:15 p.m. We'll not only be electing new officers,
but we also have some significant topics to discuss and colleagues
to celebrate. RMIG has been asked to revisit our organizing documents
and Eleanor Block has researched by-laws of other interest groups
and divisions for us to consider. In addition, AEJMC has asked
us to clarify our relationship with the Journal of Mass Media
and Religion and Dan Stout is preparing to speak on that. Finally,
we will have a reception to honor our colleagues who were integral
to the founding of RMIG and are now retiring or have recently
retired-please be sure to join us as we celebrate our members'
contributions and the progress of the interest group.
you in San Francisco.
Present Special Topics of Interest
RMIG Vice-Head and Program Chair
Greetings from your vice-head,
Warren and I survived the notorious chip auction in December
and were able to program RMIG for three co-sponsored panels.
This was our year to be in "Chip reduction," meaning
that in a typical year we can program four, but this year, only
we have a diverse program of panels, nonetheless, relating to
some hot topics in journalism and we hope to see you there. At
3:15 p.m. on Aug. 2, we will be taking part in a mini-plenary
session on the alternative press. This is a great opportunity
for the division, as our contributor is an editor from a Buddhist
magazine. We are co-sponsoring with COMJIG, MAG, and GLBT. There
are only four mini plenaries in the time block, so please make
an extra effort to attend.
5 p.m. that day, we, along with SCIG, are sponsoring a teaching
panel on covering the intelligent design issue. The panelists
are a combination of academics and working journalists. This
is an issue that is and will continue to be in news. Please come
and share your perspective on how to prepare students to cover
will have research panels and our member's meeting on the 3rd
(please come!), and then on the 4th at 1:30 p.m. we are sponsoring
a panel on how faith communities reach out to the disabled. Our
panelists will, again, include both academics and communication
officers for faith communities.
By the way, the chip auction isn't that bad.
Acknowledgements and Applause
and Frasca's New Books Now Available
Never Been a Show Like Veggie Tales: Sacred Messages in a Secular
Market (AltaMira Press, 2005)
animated vegetables with Christian messages, The Veggie Tales children's
video series might seem strange to newcomers. But with their
combination of media savvy, fun plots, and Biblical messages, Veggie
Tales videos became standard viewing in millions of evangelical
homes in the 1990s. Then in 1998, Veggie Tales videos began to
appear in Wal-Mart and Target stores, a feat unprecedented for
an avowedly Christian media company. In telling the story of Veggie
Tales, communication professor Hillary Warren tells the history
religious communication in America, the story of a Christian
company's tension between selling God and selling out, the story
of Christians struggling between the sacred and the secular in
their media choices. Read it and you'll see indeed why there's
never been a show like Veggie Tales.
says what she really liked about writing the book was that she
was able to return to her journalistic roots and use interviews
and industry research along with social science methods to tell
a story about religious media and the economics and culture that
more information about the book, contact Hillary Warren at HWarren@otterbein.edu.
Franklin's Printing Network: Disseminating Virtue in Early
America (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2006)
Ralph Frasca explores Benjamin Franklin's printing empire in
his book Benjamin Franklin's Printing Network: Disseminating
Virtue in Early America. Frasca examines Benjamin Franklin's
numerous reasons for creating his printing network and his altruistic
desire to guide Americans to virtue.
Franklin's Printing Network: Disseminating Virtue in Early
America, Frasca outlines Franklin's devotion and passion
that lead him to publish as he believed moral lessons as service
to humanity, and therefore to God. In the book, Frasca highlights
the founding father's citation of the Book of Matthew chapter
25, as Franklin commented in a 1738 letter to his parents that
he wished to serve God through his virtuous deeds. "Scripture
assures me, that at toe last Day, we shall not be examin'd
what we thought, but what we did; and our Recommendation will
not be that we said Lord, Lord, but that we did GOOD to our
Nine years later, he advised almanac readers, "What is Serving
God? 'Tis doing Good to Man."
more information about the book, contact Ralph Frasca at email@example.com.
with the Religion News Reader
with the Religion News Reader is the Master's Project of
Cassandra Fuerst, University of Missouri School of Journalism
May 2006 graduate. The project explored religion journalism's
place at small newspapers such as the Columbia Missourian.
The Missourian served as a unique model in that it is
also a classroom for its reporters. While all the editors are
professionals, the reporters are students at the University
of Missouri learning journalism through practice.
project aimed to help religion journalists better understand
readers. Through interviews with 17 Columbia residents and three
Missourian editors, Fuerst looked to see if the interests of
the community paralleled the direction of religion editors and
reporters. For more information about the project, Fuerst can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Needs Your Help
is the membership that makes RMIG strong and we want YOU to take
a part in interest group leadership. Being an interest group
officer means a little bit of work (generally less than 10 hours
per year, with a few exceptions), a chance to meet fabulous,
interesting people, another quarter inch on the vita, and a chance
to shape the future of this interest group.
positions include head of the division (liaison to AEJMC, facilitator
for the other officers), vice head and program chair (plans the
sessions for the annual conference), research chair (runs the
competitive paper session), teaching and PF
& R chairs (generally contribute articles to the newsletter
and help with organizing panels and may help arrange teaching and/or
PF & R related events), newsletter editor (solicits articles
for and edits twice-yearly newsletter) and secretary (keeps records
and notes of annual meeting). We are also considering adding a
membership chair that would spread the news about and recruit for
you want more information about any of these positions, please
contact any of the current officers (names and contact information
Then come to the members' meeting on Aug. 3 at 6:15 p.m. See
you in San Francisco.
note from Eleanor Block, RMIG secretary and contributing editor
of Communication Booknotes Quarterly:
BOOKNOTES QUARTERLY seeks book reviewers in any area of media,
telecommunications or information policy, American or foreign.
Reviews are short (a long paragraph) and pithy to help readers
make interesting purchasing decisions. It's usually best to specialize
in one or two topics (such as a specific country or region, or
a topic like religion and the media), and we ask that multiple
reviews come in at least twice a year, preferably three or four
times. CBQ is also interested in receiving proposals for topical
literature reviews covering 24-28 recently published resources.
CBQ is published by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. For more information
Contact Editor Chris Sterling (George Washington University)