Posts Tagged ‘journalism’

June 1st, 2016

Post-Doctoral Opportunity at Columbia University IRCPL

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The Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life invites applications for postdoctoral scholar positions, for the 2016-2017 academic year.

March 24th, 2015

A modest defense of the listicle

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If, as Umberto Eco tells it, “the list is the origin of culture,” then the Internet may be culture’s apotheosis. So much of the web comes to us in list form. Google searches render lists of results; we scroll all the livelong day (and night) through lists of updates on Twitter and Facebook; news sites like The New York Times and Vox highlight lists of their most popular stories. Blogs are lists of posts; Instagram is a list of images; Reddit is a hive-minded collection of conversations and digital artifacts presented as lists. Even the Bible, on the Internet, morphs into a list—the popular app YouVersion, which has been downloaded over 170 million times, essentially understands (as a matter of its coding) the Bible not as a book or series of books but as a list of 31,102 verses.

March 3rd, 2015

Give me that digital religion

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Every Sunday night in Omaha, Nebraska, a small group gathers in a United Church of Christ church lobby to watch and participate in a streaming video broadcast called Darkwood Brew. Both the project and the space—which has been transformed into a hip coffee shop—feel more of a piece with evangelical strategies to attract new members than with the trappings of Midwestern mainline Protestants. The crowd itself is relatively sparse, and much older than you might expect for such an experiment: a couple dozen people, most between 40 and 60 years of age.

I visited Countryside Community Church in fall 2011 as a Research Fellow for the New Media Project (housed at the Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis). Darkwood Brew was one of six case studies chosen for the first phase of the New Media Project’s research into how Christian communities in the United States are using, and theologically interpreting, new digital technologies. On its website, Darkwood Brew is described as “a groundbreaking interactive web television program and spiritual gathering that explores progressive/emerging Christian faith and values.” There is some debate among the participants themselves about whether or not the live stream counts as a church service; despite the fact that the weekly program features bible study, discussion, music, and concludes with the Christian rite of communion, most resist the language of “church” to describe what is happening.

February 3rd, 2015

Comments don’t replace the news

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Pope Francis has called the Internet a “gift from God.” If that’s the case, one has to wonder what message the Almighty wanted to send with this kind of present. The Internet does many good things for religion, such as informing people about each other’s faiths and providing a forum for serious discussion about them. But the same medium that can foster understanding also spreads polarization and deepens existing prejudices. This divine gift sends some decidedly mixed messages.

For a reporter like me, feedback from the public used to consist of occasional letters to the editor, maybe a phone call or a discreet word from a source not completely satisfied with a report. Now, the publication of an online news story is often only the beginning of a long series of exchanges with readers. Some of these are enriching experiences—opportunities to learn more about the subject or to discover leads for further reporting. But many are, frankly, a nuisance and a waste of time.

June 26th, 2012

Knight Grants for Reporting on Religion and Public Life

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The Knight Program at the USC  Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism is accepting applications until July 1st, for the Knight Grants for Reporting on Religion and Public Life.

March 2nd, 2012

College, religion, and Santorum

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A 2007 SSRC study on religion and higher education contradicts Rick Santorum’s claims about loss of faith and college attendance.

October 11th, 2011

RFP: New Directions in the Study of Prayer

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The Social Science Research Council recently announced the launch of a new project and grants program entitled “New Directions in the Study of Prayer.”

September 20th, 2011

New directions in the study of prayer

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The Social Science Research Council has just announced the launch of a major new project and grants program entitled “New Directions in the Study of Prayer.”

September 2nd, 2011

More on religion in the presidential race

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At The Daily Beast, Micheal Medved joins the current discussion, set off by Bill Keller’s recent Times article, on religion’s role in the presidential race.


August 29th, 2011

Questioning religion’s role in the presidential race

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At the Scoop, Maura Jane Farrelly rounds up some responses (and adds her own) to Bill Keller’s Times Magazine editorial appealing for closer scrutiny of presidential candidates’ religious backgrounds and beliefs.

July 15th, 2011

When news isn’t so black and white

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In light of Hasidic 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky’s recent murder, as well as The New York Times’ inclusion of “some of the blunt theological language of the funeral…without any kind of context and/or clarification from other Hasidic believers and outside experts,” Getreligion discusses the implications and delicacy of reporting on religious affairs.

June 13th, 2011

Whose foreskin?

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Courtney Bender discusses the controversial ballot measure to prohibit circumcision of males under eighteen years of age, which will  be up for a vote in San Francisco in November.

April 19th, 2011

CFP: Knight Grants for Reporting on Religion and American Public Life

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A new grants program for journalists, sponsored by the Knight Program at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism:

Knight Grants for Reporting on Religion and American Public Life, sponsored by the Knight Program at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, provides funding for projects that explore how religion — morals, values, spirituality and the search for meaning — shapes responses to social issues, including housing, health care, poverty, sexuality, immigration, economic equity, and civil rights in the US.

March 9th, 2011

The future of Haaretz (and of Israel)

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David Remnick, in The New Yorker, profiles Amos Schocken, the prickly but principled (albeit ideologically nonconformist) publisher of Haaretz, which, though long seen—by its own staff as much as its readers—as the conscience of Israeli society, shares with the state itself an increasingly uncertain future.

September 22nd, 2010

Journalism and theology

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At The Scoop, Diane Winston sums up and comments on Ross Douthat’s recent talk at USC.

June 15th, 2010

Introducing the Israel-Palestine Project

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Diane Winston introduces the Israel-Palestine Project, a multimedia exploration of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, composed by students in her USC Annenberg graduate journalism course on covering religion, politics, and gender. It aims to deepen the historical and sociological context in which the conflict is reported on in the U.S.

May 29th, 2010

New York Times profiles Krista Tippett

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In today’s New York Times, Samuel G. Freedman warmly profiles Krista Tippett and her acclaimed weekly broadcast “Speaking of Faith.”

May 27th, 2010

Religion gone global: An interview with Reza Aslan

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How many scholars of religions also run a film company? And how many members of the Council on Foreign Relations can claim an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop? In all likelihood, just one. Reza Aslan, whose bestselling books No god but God and Beyond Fundamentalism have established him as a sought-after expert on Islam and the role of religion in the contemporary world, is also a contributing editor at The Daily Beast and chief creative officer of BoomGen, a company that helps to develop films from or about the Middle East. He earned his Ph.D. in the sociology of religions at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and currently teaches creative writing at the University’s Riverside campus.

May 21st, 2010

Coverage of a Muslim Miss USA

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At the Scoop, Courtney Bender explores the media’s coverage of the Miss USA pageant and finds that “reading the coverage of Rima Fakih is a bit like going down the rabbit hole.”

April 5th, 2010

Nicholas Kristof to discuss “covering conflict”

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On April 12, the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life at Columbia University will host a conversation and book signing with Nicholas D. Kristof, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and columnist for the New York Times.

March 15th, 2010

Templeton and journalistic integrity

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The Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellowships have been a source of fierce controversy among science writers, particularly since John Horgan’s ambivalent 2006 debrief essay suggested that the program is keyed toward promoting a religious agenda. The announcement of this year’s fellows has already aroused controversy, particularly surrounding science writer Chris Mooney, author of The Republican War on Science. Biologist Jerry Coyne went on the offensive.

March 2nd, 2010

The new landscape of the religion blogosphere

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It’s no longer news that digital media are changing how knowledge is produced and disseminated, and how people relate to one another more broadly. This is so in the case of religion as much as any other. As older forms of communication begin to cede their exclusive hold on the public’s attention, it becomes all the more urgent to ask what newer forms stand to offer and what challenges they pose, not least because these burgeoning media are modifying and adapting themselves at unprecedented rates. In this context, a newly released SSRC report explores the “new landscape of the religion blogosphere,” mapping out its contours, presenting the voices of some of its bloggers, and asking what new possibilities blogging might represent for public and academic conversations about religion. In conjunction with the release of this report, we’ve asked a number of bloggers, journalists and scholars: how are blogs and new media changing both academic and public discussions of religion?

February 25th, 2010

Religion at The Huffington Post

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Launching the new Religion section at The Huffington Post, to be edited by Paul Raushenbush, Arianna Huffington sets the tone for a courteous dialogue, “HuffPost style.”

February 11th, 2010

Awe and wonder

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At Trans/Missions, Diane Winston comments on an unusual and interesting new study, which finds that the most popular New York Times pieces tend to be “articles that elicit an emotional sense of awe.”

January 13th, 2010

The Vatican on The Simpsons

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In The Christian Science Monitor, Nick Squires asks why L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s official newspaper, has made a distinct turn towards covering events in pop culture.

January 6th, 2010

“Mr. Potato-head spirituality”

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At Trans/Missions, Diane Winston bemoans the latest “display of know-nothingism” with respect to religion and spirituality in an American newspaper.

December 24th, 2009

Religion journalism after Steinfels

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Citing two recent examples of unusually attentive and nuanced reporting on religion, Nick Street ponders the future of the field and what the absence of Peter Steinfels might mean for it.

December 23rd, 2009

The best-of bandwagon

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‘Tis the season for best-of-the-year lists, and the Religion Newswriters Association has gotten in on the action with their list of 2009’s top ten religion stories. They compiled the list by surveying more than 100 religion journalists, about 36 of whom responded to the survey.

September 27th, 2009

The new gurus

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In last week’s New York Times Sunday Styles section, Allen Salkin reported on the emergence of a “new wave” of spiritual practices and identities among young, urban, professional women. What are we to make of Salkin’s portrait of the self-styled leaders of “a new generation of self-empowerment”? Off the cuff responses to the article from Courtney Bender, Rev. Donna Schaper, Elizabeth McAlister, Mara E. Donaldson, Melani McAlister, Michele Dillon, Carl Raschke, and Kathryn Lofton.