When Religion Makes the News - Workshop & Networking Event
Tuesday, 8 November 2016 from 09:30 to 16:45 (GMT)
San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
Chair: Roger Bolton (Panorama, Sunday, This Week, Right to Reply, Feedback)
In mainstream journalism, religion is a key element in many top stories. How well-equipped are journalists to grasp and interpret the powerful impetus of religion in our world?
Headlines nowadays often feature …
- the clash of religion, culture and coercion such as Swansea-raised Amina al-Jefferey, ‘in peril’ as the judge ruled, or protected, as her father claimed?
- allegations of prejudice such as anti-Semitism in the Labour party leading to the suspension of some MPs and proposals for tougher rules
- tussles over the rights of religions in secular society in connection with Faith Schools
- claims that inappropriate political correctness around religion and culture impedes investigations into certain criminal behaviour such as the Rochdale grooming cases
- the conjunction of religion and violence such as ISIS-inspired jihadist attacks in France – Charlie Hebdo, the Bataclan, Bastille Day and the murder of Fr Jacques Hamel − or the young jihadis from Cardiff, the Muthana brothers and Reyaad Khan.
- civil society’s stance on the relationship between personal autonomy and faith-based practice, as in end-of-life and reproductive issues
The key to a strong story and the difference between a ‘one-off’ and a lasting network of contacts is the ability to ‘get’ such complex things as clashes between religious, secular and ‘national’ values; Middle-Eastern politics; the religious and cultural drivers of social practices and the distinction between religion and ethnicity.
An informed understanding of how religion shapes lives, politics and conflict today, at home and abroad – religious literacy – is now an essential for the journalist, as is an interrogation of belief in the widest sense, as it springs up in the journalist’s personal ideology and world-view, affecting viewpoint and objectivity.
This day-long workshop – the first of its kind in Wales – opens up religious literacy by offering expertise, resources and a chance to interrogate your personal standpoint and troubleshoot professional practice.
Open to those responsible for media in the range of faith communities and related secular forums in Wales, it offers excellent networking. Resources including a Guide to Christian denominations in Wales compiled by Cytun and a Guide to non-Christian Faiths in Wales will be provided. Lunch included.
We would like to thank ITV Cymru Wales for supporting this event by providing the venue: The Life Sciences Hub in Cardiff Bay. NUJ Training Wales is funded by Welsh Government.
RUNNING ORDER OF THE DAY:
Chair, Roger Bolton (Panorama, Tonight, Nationwide, This Week: Death on the Rock, Right To Reply, Sunday, Feedback). Roger Bolton also represents the Sandford St Martin Trust - a UK charity that advocates for religious literacy in broadcasting and runs an annual broadcasting awards
Showcase of relevant work by Welsh broadcasters and newspapers
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; founder and executive director of Lapido Media, 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 and discuss challenges facing journalists such as accessing representative opinion and covering the unrepresented.
- Roman Catholic Church: Maggie Doherty
- Church in Wales: Anna Morrell
- Union of Welsh Independents: Alun Lenny
- Muslim Council of Wales: Abdul-Azim Ahmed
- Board of Deputies of British Jews: Sheila Gewolb
- Judaism and the Media: Professor Nathan Abrams
Getting to Know Islam in the UK and Wales: The ideological range, structures and international links of the main branches of Islam.
- Islam and Muslim Communities in the UK and Wales: Innes Bowen, author of Medina in Birmingham, Najaf in Brent: Inside British Islam; editor of current affairs programmes for BBC Radio 4 and the World Service
- Reporting on Muslim Life in the UK: Hussein Kesvani, journalist, Theos Thinktank
- For journalists and media academics: 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 journalist an opportunity to identify his or her own ‘norms’ and any blind spots and to consider how this may affect the journalist's working practice. Do notions of political correctness affect the news agenda?
- For representatives of faith communities and of the spectrum of belief and for other non-journalist participants: Working with Journalists - An opportunity to consider your experience, your agenda, your media practice
The secular media and belief: What is newsworthy? TV producer and media trainer, Angela Graham leads an audit of media-readiness. What do believers expect from the media and what do they have to offer? The essentials for communicating to mass media.
Aaqil Ahmed, Head of BBC Religion and Ethics
Working with Faith Communities: Journalistic realities and good practice.
Radio journalist, Dr Michael Munnik (Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK, Cardiff University) presents a case study and leads this open session in which journalists and believers share experiences and dilemmas.
Getting beyond gate-keepers; Political Correctness; Understanding what motivates religious people; the gap between Doctrine and Practice; ‘hardliners’ and liberals; Religion in a Secular Society; nuance and the news agenda.
EVENT ORGANISERS: Angela Graham with NUJ Training Wales
COST: £19.50 (includes lunch, refreshments & resource) Free to ITV Cymru Wales employees (sponsors).