IARJ Chair Douglas Todd reports on the upcoming global conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, focusing on the challenges of covering religion in this complex region of the world. Most journalists attending are from Asia. They will be joined by journalists from several other continents.
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Peggy Fletcher Stack, religion writer for The Salt Lake Tribune and a founding member of the International Association of Religion Journalists, was part of the investigative team at the Tribune that won the Pulitzer Prize for reporting on rapes at Utah colleges. In this new IARJ@work column, Peggy writes about the challenges she faces—and the importance of reporting on religion in a fair and balanced way.
For hundreds of millions of Muslims, Sharia is a way or a path to divine understanding that enables human beings to reach their full potential. So why does so much public conversation about “sharia” or “sharia law” focus on extreme interpretations grounded in intolerance and ignorance? The answers are complex, involving historical, political, cultural, regional and religious factors that need to be understood in context. Yet complexity and reason are often dangerously absent amid the emotion and politics attached to Sharia.
Marking our fifth anniversary as a worldwide organization, our web team invited some active members to respond in this Forum format to the question: “Why does the International Association of Religion Journalists (IARJ) matter in today’s world?” As we raised the question, we wondered whether our original 2012 mission statement was still relevant. We were fascinated—and encouraged—to read these diverse responses from our members.
The IARJ’s mission is to offer online tips and news of interest to professional journalists—as well as online and in-person opportunities for staff development through annual regional conferences. In this online Forum, IARJ members are asked to contribute their thoughts in early 2017 to the question: What religion news stories are under-reported? We hope this Forum will spark journalists to think about topics that our peers consider important this year.