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.
BBC Radio Wales 5th July & 9th July; iplayer till 3rd August
With the tenth anniversary of the London bombings being marked this week, the man who ran the Metropolitan police at the time made a stark admission. Lord Blair said he did not believe the west would be able to defeat such extremism in his lifetime.
Meanwhile the defence secretary seeks parliamentary authority to extend to bombing of ISIS targets to Syria, the prime minister speaks of ‘the struggle of our generation’ and the families of 30 British tourists mourn after the massacre on a beach in Tunisia.
Unanimous praise for Calvary but disagreement over whether religion has ‘moved to the periphery of Irish life’
Fun being among the reviewers but I found myself at odds with them on this point.
Far from religion being on the side-lines, this film presents it as being so close to Irish hearts that its betrayal by clerical abuse of children results in a seething anger against clerics and the Catholic Church. Religion has failed but faith, in this film, is precious.
My favourite film, Bresson’s ‘Diary of a Country Priest’ is the model here. In both films a good priest is surrounded by embittered, suffering parishioners who taunt and confront him with the monstrosity and absurdity of suffering. There is plenty of jeopardy of the usual who-dunnit type but even more hangs on the risk that the priest will compromise his principles from sheer fellow-feeling.
A key role is that of the newly bereaved French wife whose clear-eyed acceptance of enormous loss proves a touchstone. Integrity, the coherence between what a person believes and what he or she does, is a major theme.
A great cast. Brendan Gleeson and his son, Domhnall are powerful in one of the many one-to-one encounters.
Why do we get angry at suffering as though it is something unexpected? That’s a question I feel this film put in front of me.