It is impossible to think about religion without noticing the news. It is impossible to be a journalist without understanding something about religion. Religion is at the center of multiple headlines & news stories the world over. This course will explore both the production, and reception, of religion in the news investigating what it takes to be on “the God beat” and what kinds of conversations such a beat creates, questions, & critiques.
Such a class, such a conversation, is vitally important in this present moment. Exploring several news site home pages I was able to find religion headlines on every single one -- about conflict in Israel, about burned churches in the Midwest, nature spirituality in the Pacific, abstinence in Britain, Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria. How do we make sense of these stories? How do we critique the coverage or question the approach of the journalists? How could we play an active part in producing and analyzing such news?
Building off my experiences as a freelance journalist, news analyst, and researcher engaged in the academic study of religion I am offering a course in partnership with the University of Florida's Religion department and Journalism School (one of the Top Ten in the U.S.) -- Religion & the News (REL 3938/JOU 4930).
This course will cover the importance of religion reporting in age of religious illiteracy & discuss news as a primary portal for knowledge about religion. It aims to give students an opportunity to give voice to why they report on religion, from a personal perspective and familiarize students with the multiple representations and expressions of religion, discussing how we can define religion in a pluralistic age. Students will also get the chance to know what resources, methods, and theories are available for religion newswriting and be given the opportunity to write and publish blogs, articles, and analysis pieces for public consumption. Basically, this is not a passive class with a theoretical end, but an active class with practical and real-time applications and assignments.
The course will be offered Tuesdays 1:55-2:45pm and Thursdays 1:55-3:50pm and more information about registration and course details are available HERE (Course Listings) and HERE (Registration). Interested in auditing the course? Talk to me!