Both the local and national press could do better on religion coverage

Apr 20, 2021 by

by Peter Crumpler, Christian Today:

The vital role played by local newspapers and radio in encouraging greater understanding of faith has been highlighted by a newly-published parliamentary report.

I say Amen to that.

Learning to Listen’, produced by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Religion in the Media, highlights the positive role played by local and regional media in reporting religion in a “balanced, nuanced and informative way.” It forms part of a wide-ranging review of ‘religious literacy’ across the press and broadcasting.

The report contrasts this sensitive grassroots coverage with the way faith is often reported in the national press.

As someone who trained as a local newspaper reporter and has been involved in working with the media to cover faith issues for more than 45 years, I wholeheartedly agree with the report’s praise.

But from conversations with editors and faith leaders, I know there still exists a divide to be crossed. Often, local journalists are unaware of the rich source of news and feature stories that lie within local faith communities.

And the vicars, pastors, rabbis, imams and other faith leaders are either wary of their local media or are not aware that the local newspaper or radio station would welcome hearing from them.

Where churches and other faith groups have built links with their local media, positive, informed coverage is often achieved.

Read here

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