New survey suggests journalists are ignoring news about religion and faith

Sep 21, 2022 by

by Glyn Jones

A survey of 9,000 people suggests there is an unmet demand for more coverage of news stories about faith and religion. It also suggests that journalists often use lazy stereotypes about religions and often fail to reflect the nuances and complexities in stories about faith.

The research, which claims to be the largest ever survey looking at media coverage of religion, was conducted by Harris X and sampled the views of people in 18 countries. It was commissioned by the Faith and Media Initiative, a group that brings together faith leaders and people from the media.

Among the findings of the research:

– 53 per cent of people believe news media actively ignores religion as an aspect of society and culture today.

– 61 per cent of people say media coverage often perpetuates faith-based stereotypes rather than addressing and protecting against them.

– 56 per cent of people agree there should be more nuanced coverage of complex religious issues.

As part of the project, researchers also interviewed journalists and editors. The interviews suggest newsroom cutbacks are partly to blame for poor coverage of faith issues, with a reducing number of specialist correspondents. General reporters sometimes lack the necessary knowledge about religion to be confident in covering faith stories.

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