AND MEDIA INTEREST GROUP NEWS
MATTERS Summer 2003
The Newsletter of the Religion and Media Interest Group
of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
to this special teaching edition of Religion Matters
1. From the Head
.a good year for RMIG, and
it's only getting better
2. Call from in-coming head for new leadership
3. Kansas City RMIG Research Paper Schedule
4. Emphasis on Teaching -A Call for syllabi,
5. Emphasis on Teaching -Making Religion
and Media courses fun but not fluff is trick to success
6. Emphasis on Teaching -First Amendment is natural
for religion and media courses
Winston named Knight Chair in Media and Religion at USC Annenberg
8. Call for papers
Professionalizes, Matures in 2002-03
Debra L. Mason
RMIG 2002-03 Head
is one of AEJMC's smallest and youngest interest groups. But
as we conclude our seventh year in existence, we are much stronger,
diverse and vocal than in the past.
our important highlights this year:
Seeking and receiving another three-year renewal from AEJMC Executive
Continuing to expand the number of contest entries and thus reducing
acceptance rates-a good thing given our high acceptances
Created a web site
Reaching out to more non-AEJMCers than ever in the past
Partnering in programming that will bring us greater visibility, via
two miniplenaries, than we've had in the past.
Creating a new listserv to replace our old one that had ceased to exist
in recent years.
there are more things to do. Both RMIG and AEJMC as a whole continue
to evolve and, we hope, improve.
Head Rick Moore of Boise State takes over at the Kansas City
RMIG business meeting, scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Thursday, July
31. I hope you'll join me as we talk about RMIG's future directions
and elect new leaders. Items on the agenda include:
A proposal to make officer's positions two years instead of one.
This would take effect AFTER my term so it is clear this is
not motivated by self-interest! But we learn a lot in these
roles and it seems a shame to relinquish it just when you know
enough to be effective. In addition, as a small group, often
with a dozen or fewer people at the business meeting, it is
hard to find people willing to volunteer.
A review of discusssions within AEJMC (and focused in a task force)
about the role of AEJMC's three elected committees of Teaching,
Research, and PF&R. These committees annually evaluate
the divisions and interest groups based on their abilities
to provide programming in the three areas for which the committees
are named. Each year the division/interest group completes
a detailed Annual Report. This report is what the committee
members use to "review" the groups. But there are
questions as to the real meaning of these reports, and a division/interest
group's true ability to-given limited programming slots and
other limitations-comply with all the AEJMC missions as enunciated
by the three standing committees. In addition, sometimes the
reports request data that are difficult to acquire (such as
the ethnicity of people submitting papers or even that of judges.
Unless you know a judge personally, it is almost impossible
to know without a good bit of digging). As some have noted,
AEJMC has no real punative powers over a division/interest
group if its leaders fail to comply with the report requirements
(which did happen several years ago in the Newspaper Division.)
However, Interest Groups have somewhat more incentive because
they come up for renewal every three years and could be disbanded.
are more issues that we will discuss. Please, join us. We've
included some light refreshments this year.
we much thank all the RMIG leaders this year for their help and
support. It is essentially. We are all in your debt.
Religion Newswriters Association
Incoming Head Rick Moore of Boise State Unversity invites all
RMIG members to consider a leadership position within
RMIG, and to attend the RMIG business scheduled for Thursday,
July 31, at 6:45 - 8:30 p.m.
business meeting is expected to last about an hour and the new
executive committee will meet immediately following that. Light
refreshments will be available.
Vice Head, who plans the program panels
Research Head, who manages the research paper competition
Secretary, who takes minutes at the meetings
Newsletter Editor: Who determines newsletter content, its formatting
Chairs for each of the three standing committees of Teaching, Research
Diversity Committee Chair
Membership Committee Chair
If you are interested in serving a leadership role, or if you have
questions about the time involved, please contact Debra Mason at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2003 Juried Accepted Research Papers
see the complete schedule, click here.
following is the list of research papers accepted into RMIG's
8:15 to 9:45 am
Refereed Paper Session: How Shall They Hear? Examinations
of Self-Representations By Religious Communities
Moderating/Presiding: Kenneth D. Loomis, North Texas
in Service to the Church*
Martin Yina and Tony Rimmer, California State, Fullerton
Religious Experience: A Textual Analysis of the Construct of
History and Religion at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah
David W. Scott, South Carolina
Community on the Internet: An Exploratory Analysis of Mormon
Daniel A. Stout, Brigham Young
of On-Line Bulletin Boards By Churches - An Exploratory Study
Amanda Sturgill, Carly Engibous, Megan Holmes, Pattama Jongsuwanwattana
and Prachi Purohit, Baylor
Lynn Schofield Clark, Colorado
Top Student Paper
** Top Faculty Paper
am to 1:15 pm
Scholar-to-Scholar. These are the RMIG-juried papers
that are among the 78 research papers displayed at this
AEJMC-wide poster session.
of Media Practice
Jin Kyu Park, Colorado
in Whose Image? Examining Network TV's Treatment of Religion
Scott H. Clarke, Michigan State
Shades of Green: Religion as a Factor in News Framing of Environmental
Rick Clifton Moore, Boise State
Beliefs, Media Use, and Wishful Thinking in the 2000 U.S. Presidential
Barry Hollander, Georgia
Socialization and the Media: A Qualitative Study of How Baby
Boomers View the Entertainment Media as a Cultural Resource
Lynn Schofield Clark, Colorado
Freedom and Religion: Measuring an Association Between Press
Freedom and Religious Composition
Guy Golan, Louisiana State and Colleen Connolly-Ahern, Florida
Economic Response of Religious Television Stations to Digital
Brad Schultz, Mississippi
Structural Equation Model of Religiosities Effect on Mass Media
Use and Civic Participation
Greg Armfield, Missouri-Columbia
Discussants: Mara Einstein, Queens and Myna German, Berkeley
to 4:45 pm
Refereed Paper Session: Religion in the News: Uncovering Patterns
in Secular Coverage of Major Stories
Eric Gormly, North Texas
the Party Line: Xinhua News Agency's Coverage of the Falun
Chiung Hwang Chen, Brigham Young- Hawaii
Sin or Despicable Crime: An Exploration of Media Frames Surrounding
the Catholic Church Priest Sexual Abuse Scandal
Lois A. Boynton and Dulcie M. Straughan, North Carolina at Chapel
Workers or Evangelists, Charity or Conspiracy: Framing of Missionary
Activity as a Function of International Political Alliances
David N. Dixon, Azusa Pacific
News and Cultural Categories: The Intersection of Religion,
Media and Culture in Journalism
Cheryl Casey, New York
Judith Buddenbaum, Colorado State
for syllabi, teaching ideas
is asking for example of course outlines, descriptions, syllabi
and suggested readings for a planned online database of these
As teachers, we know envisioning a course and going through the
detailed planning is the hardest part of the job.
some collegial generosity and sharing, RMIG hopes to provide
an invaluable resource to its members who are interested in teaching
a course around the topics of media and religion but who don't
know where to start.
If you have a syllabi or other materials you are willing to share,
please send them to RMIG Head Debra Mason at email@example.com.
Please include in your message a phrase stating that you agree
to have the material posted on RMIG's web site.
deadline for submissions is Sept. 1, 2003, although of course
we will always update it with new syllabi.
you in advance to those of you who can help with this.
Religion and Media courses fun but not fluff is trick to success
Colorado State University
study of religion and media is now an accepted research specialty.
Courses on religion and media are increasingly common.
I have found there is still lingering doubt among some administrators
and faculty about the viability of courses on religion and media,
I have also found they are an example of the "build it,
and they will come" phenomenon.
teach a religion, media and society course as one of a smorgasbord
of freshman seminars incoming students at Colorado State are
required to choose among. My course is always one of the first
to fill to capacity. Students flock to it because they consider
the topic inherently interesting and relevant. Once in it, they
are rarely disappointed. But in the process, they discover that
what they thought would be a "fun course" may be fun,
but it isn't fluff.
too, find the course fun. But offering a course that is fun,
but not fluffy, takes some doing. Through trial and error, I
have found some things that can make a good course even better.
Signal your intent. "Religion and media" is a fine
topic, but it's vague and overbroad. As a name for a course,
it can invite misunderstanding if students enroll thinking you
will emphasize one thing, for example religion news coverage
and you emphasize religious television. You can't cover everything,
so you're better off giving your course a title reflecting what
you will emphasize. As a focused seminar, the one on
"The First Amendment, Religion and the Media" I taught
last fall worked well. Election year seminars on "Religion,
Media and Politics" have also been winners. But the possibilities
are endless. Some day I'm going to build one around media coverage
of issues at the intersection of religion and medicine from the
controversy over smallpox vaccinations to cloning and stem sell
research. Others have good luck with a "popular culture, popular
religion" course that focuses on the impact and portrayal
of religion and religious themes in popular music, movies and TV
Cater to your students' schedule. What works best may vary from
one school to another, but my students at Colorado State students
participate more fully in late morning or early afternoon classes
than they do in classes that are scheduled to begin before 10
a.m. or after 3 p.m. I have also found that, for a 3-credit course,
two 90-minute sessions work best. Meeting in shorter sessions
three times a week doesn't give enough time for discussion. With
longer once-a-week classes, it's hard to develop continuity between
sessions and maintain interest and focus within them.
Lead by following. I'm a natural lecturer, so I have had to curb
my instincts by constantly reminding myself that, in a course
such as this, students don't need to hear or know everything
I know. Students like it better, and there is less danger that
they will think I am trying to impose my own beliefs on them,
if I let them do the bulk of the "teaching."
To do that, I assign responsibility for most class sessions to
a panel of two or three students who must provide an overview of
the readings for the day, offer their views on how those readings
fit in with previous ones and contribute to the theme for the course,
and then ask a question or two to get a discussion started. I also
require students to research a course-related topic that interests
them and then present their findings in oral reports to their classmates.
For my part, I go into class session with a few notes on the main
points I think students should know plus a few ideas I want them
to wrestle with; I insert my comments wherever they seem to fit.
If they don't fit anywhere, I may begin the next class sessions
by saying something like, "I've been thinking about what we
were talking about
" "Did you know
or "What do you think about
Reward critical thinking. Open-ended essays that require students
to integrate ideas and come to their own conclusion are a better
option than assignments that require learning isolated facts.
While essay assignments can be hard to design and to grade, I
find them worth the effort. Students learn more and remember
the main points better when they have to wrestle with ideas and
come to their own conclusion. And I learn more about my students'
interests and their real level of understanding from reading
these essays than I could ever learn from easier-to-grade assignments
short-answer assignments. However, giving this kind of assignment
means that I do have to remind myself that there really are no "correct" and "incorrect"
answers - just thorough, logical consideration of material from
a number of sources, accuracy in presenting that information, and
evidence of understanding the differences between fact and opinion
and their appropriate use in developing an argument.
Police the boundaries. The situation may be different at a private,
religious college, but at a state university it's important to
make sure everyone understands there is a difference between "religion" and "religious." The
First Amendment protects everyone and that protection will be
assured of that protection in class. I try to make it very clear
through word and example that it's ok for students to express
opinions based on their religious convictions; it's also ok for
others to agree or disagree with classmates' opinions, whether
or not those opinions flow from religious beliefs. It isn't ok
to attack or make fun of those opinions or insinuate that they
are wrong. If a student strays from those ground rules, I make
the student stop, apologize and then try to make the same point
in some other, less threatening way. I also tell my students
to hold me to those same standards and I praise them when they
do Because I am not shy about sharing my religious beliefs and
offering my opinions, I also make it a point to show that my
grading is viewpoint neutral by sharing with the class good essays
in which students have taken an approach I would not have taken
or have argued for a position with which disagree.
Exploring Religious Freedoms of First Amendment Provide Meaty
But Challenging Course
University of South Carolina
my short term as a professor, I have had the opportunity to teach
first amendment classes in two states (New Hampshire and South
Carolina). I think the greatest challenge in teaching this course
is helping students to understand the current legal issues arising
from both the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the
of my students bring with them very strong religious beliefs
and often attended public schools that integrated religious ideology
into their curriculum or extra curricular activities. The challenge,
in this course, is to help students address legal questions regarding
the Establishment Clause without feeling threatened or invalidated
for their beliefs.
I have revised my notes and discussions in the class, I have
found a few methods to help maintain the integrity of the material
while also allowing students to question both their own experiences
and the current legal climate. Here are a few suggestions:
Be sure to differentiate institutional religious beliefs from personal
religiosity. I have found that the First Amendment does a great
job of doing this. If we accept the current interpretations
of the Establishment Clause, we can recognize that the intent
of the clause is to prohibit state-sponsored orthodoxy (although
this may not have been the case when the Constitution was first
written). The challenge then, is for the students themselves
to debate whether or not a particular religious text favors
a particular faith (e.g., The Ten Commandments, a Nativity
Scene, the Koran, the "In God we trust" phrase in
the Pledge of Allegiance or on currency).
The Free Exercise Clause in the First Amendment's focus on personal
religiosity allows the use of assignments in which. students
review school cases when students are punished for wearing
religious shirts or other paraphernalia (believe me, there
are plenty of those for review). One goal here is to help students
see that omitting religious orthodoxy from state-sponsored
institutions is not sacrilegious or a threat to religious beliefs
I emphasis at first that many constitutional theorists argue (and
much history attests to this) that much of the value of the
First Amendment derives from the founders' construct of Natural
(or God-given) Law. For some history on this, see
I challenge students to differentiate "behavior"
from "beliefs" when it comes to the authority of lawmakers
in this country (for example, I ask students why it is that the
government can so freely regulate their ability to drink but not
which church they attendóthe conclusion is that one regulation
does not infringe on their natural rights of self-determination
or beliefs, while the other does.).
Pass out a copy of the US Department of Education's "Guidance
on Constitutionally Protected Prayer in Public Elementary and Secondary
Schools."This gives them the "official perspective" and
serves as a primer for further discussion about their own experiences.
Discuss original intent versus current law. I have had on some
occasion students argue that the Founders were very religious
and that their intent was to allow God to be included in government
settings. This is always a great lead-in to discussion of other
original interpretations of the first amendment versus the
current legal climate (for example, the original first amendment
would not prohibit the states from restricting ALL speech).
Students are then allowed to discuss and debate the merits
of the history of various laws or interpretations of the Constitution
versus current Supreme Court decisions (again, refer to the
Indiana website above for discussion of this subject as it
pertains to the First Amendment).
these classroom ideas may not change student opinions of the
students, they at least leave the classroom with broader perspectives.
In the words of one of my former students, "The thing I
hate so much about your class is that just when I think Iím
right about something, you come along and challenge my expectations." This "Eureka" experience,
to me, is the highlight of teaching Media Law.
Winston named Knight Chair in Media and Religion at USC Annenberg
Annenberg School for Communication
ANGELES, June 5, 2003 - Diane Winston, a veteran journalist,
noted scholar and author, has been selected as the Knight Chair
in Media and Religion at the USC Annenberg School for Communication,
Dean Geoffrey Cowan announced today.
whose assignment begins August 1, 2003, will develop programs
to enhance religion reporting across the nation through workshops
for working journalists, research, conferences, as well as classroom
instruction. She comes to USC Annenberg from the Pew Charitable
Trusts, where she has been responsible for programs in religion
and media and religion and academic scholarship.
spirituality and moral values are so much a part of American
life that they deserve much better coverage," said Michael
Parks, director of USC Annenberg's School of Journalism, where
Winston will be based. "Diane Winston is an outstanding
reporter and an influential scholar who shares a deep commitment
to improving the practice of journalism. I am delighted we have
been able to recruit a journalist and scholar of Winston's caliber
for this Knight Chair."
has worked as a reporter for several of the nation's leading
newspapers, including the Baltimore Sun, Dallas Morning News,
Dallas Times Herald and The News and Observer in Raleigh,
North Carolina. She is the author of Red-Hot and Righteous:
The Urban Religion of the Salvation Army (1999) and co-editor
of Faith in the City: Religion and Urban Commercial Culture (2002).
She has directed religion and media projects at New York University
and Northwestern University. She holds a Ph.D. in religion from
Princeton University, an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University,
a Master's degree from Harvard Divinity School and B.A. from
worked with Diane at the Baltimore Sun, I'm well aware
of her abiding interest in journalistic coverage of religion.
I can't think of anyone better qualified for this Chair,"
said John Carroll, editor of the Los Angeles Times.
experience uniquely pairs her many years as an exceptional religion
journalist with her abilities as a rigorous scholar,"
said Debra Mason, executive director of the Religion Newswriters
Association. "We look forward to collaborating with Diane
and USC in our mutual efforts to raise the bar for religion coverage
in the news media."
Knight Chair was established at USC Annenberg thanks to a $1.5
million grant announced last September by the John S. and James
L. Knight Foundation.
Pew Charitable Trusts, the Religion Newswriters Association,
The Freedom Forum and more than a few journalists in all media
are working to improve religion coverage," said Eric Newton,
Knight Foundation's director of journalism initiatives.
"But I think we all would agree that true journalism excellence
in this field is still a long way off. With the appointment of
Diane Winston, the USC Annenberg School for Communication is building
the dynamic leadership, diverse talent and growing resources to
make a major contribution to the field."
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes excellence in
journalism worldwide and invests in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities.
The USC teaching position is the 17th such endowed position established
at U.S. colleges and universities since 1990 by the Miami-based
foundation. The foundation has invested $25.5 million in the
Knight Chair program.
in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California, the
USC Annenberg School for Communication is among the nation's
leading institutions devoted to the study of journalism and communication,
and their impact on politics, culture and society. With an enrollment
of more than 1,500 graduate and undergraduate students, USC Annenberg
offers B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in journalism, communication,
and public relations.
4th International Conference on Media, Religion, and
September 1-4, 2004, Louisville, Kentucky USA
Deadline: Received by November 7, 2003.
4th International Conference on Media, Religion, and Culture
invites proposals for papers, panels, and creative showcases.
The conference will focus on five themes: (1) production (how
and why diverse print and electronic media have acted as bearers
of social, cultural, and religious meaning); (2) community (ways
that media have been used in temples, synagogues, mosques, and
churches to enrich worship and enhance dialogue and a sense of
belonging); (3) audience (how audiences have interpreted or used
particular media for both implicit and explicit religious ends);
(4) ethics (religious responses to issues of media literacy or
media justice); and (5) globalization (worldwide issues, including
virtual religion in which a sense of place doesn't seem to matter).
purpose of the conference is to share the latest developments
in and research on religion, media, and culture. Each of the
preceding three international conferences generated continuing
conversations as well as a published book. Rethinking Media,
Religion, and Culture (Sage, 1997), edited by Stewart Hoover
and Knut Lunby, followed the first meeting in Uppsala, Sweden; Practicing
Religion in the Age of the Media (Columbia University Press,
2002), edited by Stewart Hoover and Lynn Schofield Clark, followed
the second meeting in Boulder, Colorado; and Mediating Media:
Studies in Media, Religion, and Culture (T&T Clark, 2003),
edited by Jolyon Mitchell and Sophia Marriage, followed the third
meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland. A selective anthology of quality
original work will likely emerge from this conference, too.
should be no longer than 500 words. They must include:
Title of proposed presentation
Name(s) and title(s) of author(s)
Institutional affiliation(s) and address(es) of author(s)
Category (paper, panel, or creative showcase)
Description of presentation
international panel will evaluate proposals on the basis of originality
and significance. Applicants will be notified of their status
in February, giving those chosen to present six months to prepare.
All presenters must preregister.
Send proposals as email messages or .rtf attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the conference, see www.MediaReligionAndCulture.org.
on Research: Recent Publications through 2002
by Eleanor S. Block
Ohio State University
following is a list of recent media and religion publications,
although it is not an exhaustive list. A future newsletter will
list research for 2003.
Clausen, Dane S., (Ed.) (2002) Sex,religion, media. Lanham,
Md: Rowman & Littlefield. Hoover,
Stuart M., & Clark, Schofield Lynn. (Eds.) (2002). Practicing
religion in the age of the media: explorations in media, religion,
and culture. New York: Columbia University Press.
Mason, Debra L., . & Holmes, Cecile S.(Eds.) (2002). A Guide
to religion reporting in the secular media: frequently asked questions. Westerville,
OH: Religion Newswriters Foundation.
Smith, Michael Ray. (2002). The Jesus newspaper: the Christian
experiment of 1900 and its lessons for today. Lanham, MD: University
Press of America.
Underwood, Doug. (2002). From Yahweh to Yahoo: the religious
roots of the secular press. Urbana: University of Illinois
Buddenbaum, Judith M. (2002) Social science and the study
of media and religion: going forward by looking backward.
Journal of Media & Religion, 1(1), 13-.
Christians, Clifford G. (2002). Religion perspectives on communication
technology. Journal of Media & Religion, 1 (1), 37-.
Evensen, Bruce J. (2002). "Saucepan journalism"
in an age of indifference: Moody, Beecher, and Brooklyn's
gilded press. Journalism History, 27 (4) 165-177.
Hoover, Stewart M. (2002). The Culturalist turn in scholarship
on media and religion. Journal of Media& Religion, 1
Kerr, P.A., & Moy, P. (2002). Newspaper coverage of fundamentalist
Christians, 1980-2000. Journalism &
Mass Communication Quarterly, 79 (1), 54-72.
Lindlof, Thomas R. (2002). Interpretive community: an approach
to media and religion. Journal of Media & Religion, 1(1),
Stout, Daniel A., & Buddenbaum, Judith M. (2002). Geneaology
of an emerging film: foundations for the study of media and religion.
Journal of Media & Religion, 1 (1), 5-.Stout, Daniel A..
(2002). Religious media literacy: towards a research agenda.
Journal of Media & Religion, 1 (1), 49-.
Waters, Ken. (2002). Vibrant, but invisible: a study of contemporary
religious periodicals. Journalism & Mass Communication
Quarterly, 78(2), 307-.