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 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
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.
Religion is an element in many high profile stories today but how well are journalists supported in their efforts to understand and interpret its role? I have organised with NUJ Training Wales the first event in Wales to address this urgent skills issue.
WHEN RELIGION MAKES THE NEWS: Workshop & Networking Event, Cardiff
A workshop for all journalists living or working in Wales: 8th November 2016
I was a guest on ‘All Things Considered’, going out on BBC Radio Wales on Sunday 13th March at 9am here. The topic was Fear. Also in the discussion were Dr Richard Hain, a specialist in Paediatric Palliative Care; Shereen Williams, Director of the Henna Foundation and the Jesuit, Fr Roger Donovan, Director of St Beuno’s Ignatian Spirituality Centre.Continue reading Fear and Faith – Radio Wales→
Roy Jenkins interviews the members of the Gen Verde performance group who spent a week with pupils from two secondary schools in Torfaen preparing them for a concert at the Newport Centre on 12th November. Impressive contributions to the programme from the young people about this experience of seeing life from someone else’s point of view. It was a privilege to help organise this fantastic project.