When Religion Makes the News – A Workshop for Journalists

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

silent rally
Unity Vigil at the Senedd, Cardiff after Charlie Hebdo & Paris supermarket siege Photo: Media Wales Ltd

CHAIR: Roger Bolton (Panorama, Tonight, Nationwide, This Week: Death on the Rock, Right To Reply, Sunday, Feedback). A passionate advocate of religious literacy and Chair of the Sandford St Martin Awards.

Photo: Sandford St Martin Trust

Religious literacy is an essential for today’s journalist – an informed understanding of how religion shapes lives, politics and conflict, at home and abroad. Religious literacy is not religious journalism. It is the ability to read the impact of religion on mainstream stories. It also enhances an understanding of the relation between religions and secular belief systems.

Especially when the domestic agenda is affected by international currents, the key to a strong story  may be the ability to ‘get’ such complex things as:

  • the source of clashes between religious, secular and ‘national’ values
  • the roots of militant religion
  • the religious and cultural drivers of social practices
  • the distinction between religion and ethnicity.

The creation of a strong network of contacts depends on sound sources. This day-long workshop opens up religious literacy by offering expertise and resources.

Values and beliefs influence objectivity and the day will provide a chance to interrogate one’s personal standpoint and identify any blind spots. There will also be an opportunity to troubleshoot professional practice.

Open to the range of faith communities in Wales, the event offers excellent networking. A Resource List of faith-based media reps and a Guide to Faith in Wales will be provided. Lunch is included.

We would like to thank ITV Wales for supporting this event by providing the venue: The Life Sciences Hub in Cardiff Bay.

  • The Big Picture: Religion on the Global Stage, Religion on your Doorstep

                    Essentials for the journalist on Faith, Ideology, Culture and Ethnicity

Dr Jenny Taylor, journalist, executive director of Lapido Media, a specialist briefing agency on religious literacy.

  • Getting the Most from Media Reps

Media reps from among the many facets of the 3 Abrahamic faiths in Wales present their services and resources. Accessing representative opinion. Covering the unrepresented.

  • Roman Catholic Church                             Alexander des Forges
  • Church in Wales                                             Anna Morrell
  • Union of Welsh Independents                 Alun Lenny
  • Muslim Council of Wales                            Abdul-Azim Ahmed
  • Board of Deputies of British Jews          Stanley Soffa
  • Judaism and the Media                              Professor Nathan Abrams, Bangor University


  • Getting to Know Islam in the UK and Wales

   The ideological range, structures and international links of the main Islamic groups.


  • Objectivity, Bias and Belief – An opportunity for self-scrutiny

Beliefs and values are not exclusive to the religious. Dr Jenny Taylor leads a session designed to allow each person an opportunity to identify their own ‘norms’ and any blind spots and to consider how this may affect their work as a journalist or their engagement with the media as a faith representative.

  • Working with Faith Communities – Journalistic realities and good practice.

Radio journalist, Dr Michael Munnik (Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK) presents a case study and leads this open session in which journalists and believers share experiences and dilemmas.

  • Getting beyond gate-keepers
  • Political Correctness and Punchy Journalism
  • Understanding what motivates religious people
  • Journalists interpreting the gap between Doctrine and Practice
  • Hardliners and liberals
  • Religion in a Secular Society
  • Nuance and the news agenda.

EVENT ORGANISER: Angela Graham with NUJ Training Wales

VENUE: Life Sciences Hub, Cardiff Bay, CF10 4PL

LIFE SCIENCES HUB. Image courtesy of Paramount Office Interiors Ltd

DATE:      8th November 2016

DURATION:             9.30 – 4.30

COST:   £20 per participant (includes lunch)


Anna Wynn Roberts: Project Manager – Rheolwr Prosiect NUJ Training Wales [email protected] 07768 080397 Website – www.nujtrainingwales.org – Gwefan

Twitter: @NUJTrainWales Facebook: NUJ Training Wales

Training for the National Union of Journalists in Wales – Hyfforddiant ar gyfer Undeb y Newyddiadurwyr yng Nghymru Funded by the Welsh Government – Ariennir gan Llywodraeth Cymru