Terry Mattingly spoke yesterday to the Religion Communicators Council at the Latter Day Saint’s offices on Broadway at 65th. He’s a religion writer who can be found at: http://www.getreligion.org/
Mainstream media may be biased against religion. But the reasons, Mattingly says, have to do with a lack of time, space, and resources in newspapers. Also newsrooms are ignorant and perhaps apathetic towards religion, but they are not particularly prejudiced.
To overcome media biases, Mattingly suggests religion journalists realize:
1. Words matter. Cover religious news accuarately.
2. Facts matter. Don’t condense church history and polity.
3. Praise the good; call out the bad, especially in blogs.
4. Do not hide. Use the internet for constructive sharing.
Mattingly advises church leaders not to ask reporters where they go to church. Better to question a reporter’s professionalism than their beliefs. Reporters can be effective at covering stories from faiths outside of their own traditions.
These RCC lunchtime meetings are good opportunities to provoke discussion and deeper thinking about the role of communicators in religion.