AND MEDIA INTEREST GROUP NEWS
MATTERS Fall 2007
The Newsletter of the Religion and Media Interest Group
of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
1. Editor's Introduction
2. The Chair's Corner
3. Want your students to get religion? Show it.
Don't Just Tell It.
4. New RMIG Officers Elected
5. Submissions sought for Mid-Winter Meeting
By Crystal Y. Lumpkins
RMIG Co-Newsletter Editor
University of Kansas
are well into the fall semester, and many of us are starting
to feel the crunch of research deadlines, grade a mountain of
papers and projects, or just managing all of the duties that
come along with the exciting life of academe. One of the reasons
many of us decided to take this career path is to engage with
students, yet with so many other obligations the student oftentimes
becomes an afterthought. RMIG member Michael Longinow has contributed
a thought-provoking piece to this newsletter about how to reach
students by moving from our comfort zone to theirs. He encourages
the reader to not only be a purveyor of information but a "doer"
newsletter also details the new 2007-08 offices, upcoming deadlines
for paper submissions, and information concerning a free Religion
Stylebook. You'll notice that the fall newsletter is a bit thin.
We'd like the spring newsletter to be comprehensive and representative
of what's going on in the industry and encourage you to submit
your ideas. Newsletter co-editor Jim Trammell will edit the spring
issue, and he welcomes your ideas at email@example.com.
Look for a call for submission in January of next year. You may
also send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
hope you enjoy the fall newsletter, and I look forward to hearing
By Ralph Frasca
to another year with your Religion and Media Interest Group.
are coming off a very successful year last year including some
thought-provoking panels and papers at the San Francisco conference.
We co-sponsored two very interesting panels: one with SCIGroup
on coverage of the Intelligent Design controversy, and another
with the Media and Disabilities interest group on Religion, Media
and Persons with Disabilities. Both panels featured presenters
who were not RMIG members, which allowed us to increase our exposure
to other AEJ members.
our business meeting we voted to have a formal relationship with
the Journal of Religion and Media. An RMIG membership will now
also include electronic access to the journal, including the
newest issues, which are embargoed from many library subscriptions.
Our business meeting gave us the chance to honor RMIG founding
member Judith Buddenbaum on the occasion of her retirement.
2008 convention promises to be a great one as well, with the
location in Washington, D.C. If you have contacts in Washington
who might make a good person for several RMIG members to join
for lunch or dinner one of the days of the convention, please
let me know. We are no longer in chip reduction, so we will have
a full slate of co-sponsored panels. We are counting on you and
your paper submissions, as well.
you have friends or colleagues who have an interest in religion
and media? Ask them if they are members of RMIG and, if not,
encourage them to join.
your students to get religion? Show it. Don't Just Tell It.
Michael A. Longinow, Asbury College
once said it's a sin to bore a kid. I'm not sure I completely
agree with that, but I'm ready to suggest we might be hurting
the cause of religion in journalism if we don't get with the
program. And the program, if we're going to get it, involves
entertainment. (Boredom might be students' fault, or it might
you stop reading, notice how many students from your classes
showed up at "Office Parties"
when that show (The Office) premiered this season? If you
haven't been using Facebook, MySpace and YouTube in your instruction,
your students are probably wondering why. They live there.
if we want to connect with our students in their understanding
of religion in both news and other types of journalism, we need
to at least start where students live. The age of requiring them
to come where we are - or even inviting them to our intellectual
neighborhood - won't do it anymore. Maybe it never did. John
Dewey wasn't stupid. Neither was Rousseau. Their point, (one
they shared anyway), was that students' minds are activated by
the imagination that comes from what their hands are on regularly.
students who care about religion in their study of journalism
aren't theologians. They are journalists in the making who live
in a world of stories. The wallpaper of their lives is a world
of color, music, and cinematic power. The bright side of that
is Hollywood's tendency, in recent years, for putting stories
out there that have journalism laced through them, and not all
of it the type that makes us cringe.
the Daniel Pearl biopic A Mighty Heart as an example.
Pearl's story is a true-to-life journalistic parable. As a moment
in the journalistic history of our nation, it's hard to dwell
on. But we do our students a disservice if we act like what happened
to him isn't what embedded and non-embedded reporters and photographers
live with everyday. USA Today pointed this out in May
when they quoted Asra Nomani, a friend of Pearl's who taught
a seminar at Georgetown on the truth and fictions surrounding
Pearl's death. Her class was set at about the time the film about
Pearl debuted in theatres. The film didn't do well at the box
office, but its shelf life as a DVD - much like Shattered
Glass - will serve as instructive material for journalism
faculty for quite some time.
we end with movie clips? No. Do we let movie clips stand alone
without discussion? Never. Do movie clips and the fictions of
our culture and those of other cultures help springboard our
students into discussion about religion in the developed and
developing world? Unquestionably.
hard part about use of Hollywood as our entree to the minds and
hearts of students is the whole bridge thing. At some point,
we need to escort them back across the canyon from fiction to
fact. We all probably know how to do that. We do it in photojournalism.
Donna Ferrato has done the Western world an enormous service
with her images of domestic violence. We don't need a movie (though,
again, it helps) to get that theme across. But if we do, Ferrato's
book Living With the Enemy is our ticket back home.
as you might be of print news media, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, PBS
and other news outlets that tackle religion, mainstream news
still stands as the palette we use to paint a picture of religion
journalism. But to begin there won't always get our students
interested in the religion that's deep in the human heart - the
stuff that causes us to lose ourselves in something (or someone)
greater than even our imagination.
and the interactive networks of our students' worlds, are another
palette we should reserve as an intro to the painting lessons
we've been doing for so long.
RMIG Officers Elected
individuals were elected to new positions during the AEJMC conference
in Washington D.C., and others were re-elected for the same position.
Ralph Frasca of Belmont Abbey College was elected as the new
head of RMIG, and the Vice Head/Program Chair is David Scott
of the University of South Carolina. A complete listing and e-mail
addresses are included below.
Frasca, Belmont Abbey College; email@example.com
Vice Head/Program Chair: David Scott, University of South Carolina; firstname.lastname@example.org
Research Chair: Paola Banchero, University
of Alaska-Anchorage; email@example.com
PF&R Chair: Anita Day, Loyola
U. of New Orleans; firstname.lastname@example.org
Teaching Standards Chair: Quint Randle,
Bringham Young U.; Quint_Randle@byu.edu
Membership Chair: Dan Stout, University
of Nevada-Las Vegas; email@example.com
Newsletter Co-Editors: Crystal Lumpkins,
University of Kansas; firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Trammell, St. John Fisher College; email@example.com
sought for Mid-Winter Meeting
Religion and Media Interest Group is hoping to participate in
the annual Mid-Winter Meeting this year, and we need you and
your students to submit work.
meeting will be hosted by Point Park University in Pittsburgh
on Feb. 29 and March 1, 2008. It is traditionally a time for
scholars to present work being completed for submission to the
major AEJ conference that year. It is student friendly and a
nice way to interact with others from AEJ in a smaller environment.
The organizers work hard to keep the "on the ground"
costs very low. RMIG is looking for submissions and volunteer reviewers.
is information from the call:
Authors should submit research paper proposals in an approximate
300- to 500-word abstract. The abstracts should give a clear sense
of the scope of the research, its relevant hypotheses and/or research
questions and the method of inquiry used. Conclusions should be
highlighted for works that have been completed by the submission
deadline. Do not submit full papers to the paper chairs; abstracts
are all that is required in order to be considered for presentation
at the Midwinter Conference. However, authors of accepted papers
must submit complete research papers, not exceeding 30 pages, to
their discussant two weeks prior to the conference. Papers presented
at this conference also are eligible for presentation at the national
AEJMC convention. Authors are encouraged to use the feedback from
reviewers and other Midwinter Conference attendees as they improve
upon and finalize works in progress for submission to the national
Panel organizers should submit proposals indicating the panel title,
a description of the session's focus, the issues to be discussed,
and a list of potential or confirmed panelists, including their
university or professional affiliation.
for Paper Submitters and Panel Organizers
Identify the paper's author(s) or panel's organizer(s) on the title
page only, and include the mailing address, telephone number and
e-mail address of the person to whom inquiries should be addressed.
The title should be on the first page of the text and on running
heads on each page of text. Send your abstract or proposal as an
attachment in a standard word-processing format (preferably Word
or RTF). Also, please ensure that you remove any identifying information
from your document (with the exception of the title page).
abstracts and panel proposals must be e-mailed to the appropriate
division's midwinter paper chair (see below) by December 7,
2007. Send abstracts and proposals to Dr. Amanda Sturgill, Amanda_Sturgill@baylor.edu.
Please include an e-mail address. Authors will be notified by
January 10, 2008 as to the status of their paper.
hope to see your paper and to see you in Pittsburgh.
Religion Newswriters Association has published a free Religion
Stylebook, available to all journalism educators. The 132-page
guide includes hundreds of terms from many faiths and is intended
to supplement The Associated Press Stylebook. To get copies, email
Amy Schiska, Schiska@RNA.org.
The stylebook is also online at www.religionstylebook.org.
OF MEDIA AND RELIGION
JMR seeks book reviewers. We especially need people who can review
books about religion and popular media such as movies and music.
If you are interested in reviewing, send an email to Debra Mason
Please include your research expertise and methodological specialties.
Newsletter: February 2008
Deadline for Summer issue: June 2008
AEJMC Deadline for Paper Submission - April 1, 2008
Web link: http://www.rnasecure.org/aejmc/
Other helpful links: http://www.religionwriters.com/