Many mainstream stories feature religion as an element in the mix. It might be the conjunction of religion and violence; the clash of ethnicity, faith and culture or controversy around the relation of secular ideology and faith-based values. Who takes responsibility for ensuring that journalism students and professional journalists are well-equipped to interpret the powerful impetus of religion at home and abroad – and not only religion but belief in a wider sense?
The answer, in Wales, has been almost no one.
But that is changing, and Wales is at the forefront. In Cardiff on November 8th a day-long workshop was held which it is hoped will have a positive effect on the training of professional journalists and on university curricula.
This month the Director General of the BBC appeared before the Assembly’s Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee. The night before, the University of South Wales described his BBC role in terms so imperial that Milton’s deity came to mind. At this conferral of an honorary doctorate on Lord Tony Hall we were reminded of the Corporation’s magnitude and complexity. To be at its head must require an uncommon set of talents underpinned with relentless determination.
This post appeared first on the IWA’s clickonwales site 5.11.16
When religion makes the news how well equipped are journalists to understand it? The notion of a dedicated religious correspondent fell out of favour as Britain became more secular but religion as a force in current affairs has never been so prominent. There is a religion-and belief-sized gap in the training that would-be journalists and practising professionals are receiving. NUJ Training Wales, the training arm of the National Union of Journalists has taken a bold initiative towards filling it.
A one-day workshop will be held in Cardiff on November 8th
And so this, in itself, demonstrates a sea-change in the attitude of Wales to its media. That a committee has been created which pulls together these three core elements is evidence that Wales is determined to get to grips with the communication essential for its democracy and its life as a nation.
It also shows that in the non-devolved area of broadcasting and communications Welsh politicians are willing to shoulder responsibility to the limits of the devolutionary settlement. Here we certainly see a proactive and creative willingness to get the best for Welsh media. Continue reading The BBC and Wales – Time to Deliver→
Faith in the News an episode of BBC Radio Wales’s All Things Considered examined the ability of journalists to grasp and interpret religious motivation in world affairs. The programme, led by Sarah Rowland Jones, was prompted by the workshop I am organizing for NUJ Training Wales.
The workshop is a response to the lack of training for journalists in this area.
With me on the programme was Dr Michael Munnik of Cardiff University’s Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK. He has just launched the first undergraduate module in any Welsh university to tackle the subject of religious literacy and the media. This is delivered via the School of History, Archaeology and Religion. To date, no School of Journalism in any of Wales’s 8 universities originates any teaching on this topic.
Abdul-Azim Ahmed of the Muslim Council of Wales and Ruth Gledhill, former Times Religious Affairs correspondent also debated the place of religion among the many factors that influence social and political events.
#ReportingBelief16 is the hashtag for the workshop because not only religion but other kinds of beliefs and ideologies have an influence on the choices people make.
‘We were given to the Serbs.’ In July 1995 the Bosnian town of Srebrenica fell to the forces of General Ratko Mladić and his Serbian paramilitaries. At least 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were massacred. Deportations and rape followed.
In Cardiff’s Temple of Peace the 21st anniversary of the greatest atrocity in Europe since the Second World War was remembered through the testimony of three Bosnian Muslim survivors and the daughter of Bosnian refugees who was raised in Scotland.