Media Bias Against Religion

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.

Write Away

I have OD’ed on blogging. I have seven blogs. Four are on wordpress, one is one TravelPod, one for work at UMCommunities and one on parenting at hubpages. This is not counting the Notes section of Facebook where I sometimes repeat one of my favorite blogs to 603 of my best friends.

How much Mary Beth (or Starr) Coudal does the internet really need?

It’d be one thing if the world clamored for more Mary Beth after I launched one simple blog. If web surfers everywhere emailed me, “Dear Blogger, great to hear about your trip to France. Write more. Start a new blog.”

The only time anyone has ever really immediately asked for more of my writing was after a poetry reading in the East Village. I had read a surreal poem. A young man handed me a slip of paper, which I think I still have. I unfolded it. “More Dada-ist poems please!” That was 15 years ago. But the next day, I was bored of my Dada-ist period, even though I had one real-life fan.

Having so many blogs keeps me from getting bored.

http://RunningAground.wordpress.com/ I am trying to run a 5K but I keep stopping to smell the flowers or take pictures of the George Washington Bridge.

http://GettingMyEssaysPublished.wordpress.com/ is kinda self-explanatory. It’s also a place to put my version of my essays before they get edited. My brother, who is the king of graphic design blogs, told me to call this one Screw My Editor, This One’s Better. But he didn’t actually say Screw and I don’t want to antagonize the potential good will of editors.

http://MyBeautifulNewYork.wordpress.com/ Here are my beautiful Manhattan peeps and places. It’s also a place to chronicle how I frequently get parking tickets.

http://MBCoudal.wordpress.com/ My spiritual journey and my 7 rules for living, especially with regard to my actor husband who has Parkinson’s Disease.

www.umcommunities.org As Mary Beth, the staff writer of a Methodist missionary agency, I share stories that relate to international and national stories.

www.hubpages.com Under the name Starr Coudal, I write mostly about parenting my three brilliant, spoiled rotten kids.

Which blog have I forgotten? Oh, never mind, I’m bored already. Let me change topics.

When I post a blog, say, about any thing – about taking French Class at the Alliance Francaise – the world barely blinks. When I blog a new post, and even spruce it up with a picture, a video, a link to a podcast, I get nada. Nothin’. When my post, like a rock, hits the water of the web? Barely a ripple.

But ya know what? I don’t care. I personally am fascinated by what I have to say. “Mary Beth, I wonder, how is the grammar going in your French Class?” I’m listening to myself. I write away.

I also find myself infinitely amusing. Who cares that Mary Beth delights in beating her kids at the card game, Apples to Apples? Or that she can’t get enough bacon on a Sunday morning? Me! Me! Me! I cannot get enough Mary Beth.

I am thinking of rolling all seven blogs into one unwieldy blog. In which case, I could post on it everyday, instead of like once a week per blog. But then where would people find my Dada-ist poems? Oh, that’s right, I don’t write that way any more. I don’t write for the coffee house open mic. That was before the internet, long ago, when I actually wrote poems instead of blogging about poems that I used to write.