BOLOGNA, Italy, March 3, 2019—The International Association of Religion Journalists (IARJ) and the Fondazione per le Scienze Religiose Giovanni XXIII (FSCIRE), an Italian research institute focused on religious studies, have joined forces to launch a new award for religion reporting, the Piazza Grande Religion Journalism Award.
All journalists regularly covering religion around the world find themselves reporting on Islam and, in 2019, we encounter extreme voices—fueled by a rising tide of nationalism in response to global conflicts, migration and the plight of refugees. IN THIS COLUMN, you’ll find helpful resources you can use today—and a series of fresh ideas about ways you, too, could contribute to the global conversation in a helpful way.
As we continue our series of profiles of our IARJ Regional Representatives, we share inspiring words from Elisa Di Benedetto (our representative for Europe). Even though she focuses on Europe, where she is based, Elisa has become a global public face of the IARJ. In 2012, she was one of our co-founders. She helps to coordinate international conferences to this day. In 2019, she is inspiring American readers of a new book about diversity. And, in this profile, we also share links to follow Elisa online.
In our second profile of our IARJ Regional Representatives, Rachel Kohn (our representative for Australasia) reports on some of the milestones in her own career of covering religion around the world—starting with the challenge of covering the Centennial of the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1993. We also share links to follow Rachel’s work, especially her long-running series of broadcasts, The Spirit of Things.
In a series of profiles of the IARJ’s Regional Representatives, Peggy Fletcher Stack (our representative for the United States) describes the importance of this specialty in journalism and shares links to some of her own recent news stories. Reporting on religion “touches all the important topics—values, ethics, communities, rituals, philosophical underpinnings, politics, meaning. It has some of the most compelling narratives as well as the richest ironies and an extraordinary cast of characters.”
Reina Lewis examines changing styles and expectations about Muslim women’s fashions. Reina is Artscom Centenary Professor of Cultural Studies at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. She is a leading researcher and writer on fashion and faith.
The IARJ not only fully complies with the EU’s new data protection law—we welcome it. In this new column, we explain why journalists around the world should join us in welcoming these new protections. We also explain how we use data and how we follow the new regulations.
Two of IARJ’s most active members, Executive Director Endy Bayuni from Indonesia and Waqar Gillani from Pakistan, met with journalists from the tiny Asian nation of the Maldives in a peer-to-peer seminar sponsored by the German nonprofit Media in Cooperation and Transition to help improve best practices in covering religion in the news.
Here is a six-minute video of IARJ conference participants from 15 countries visiting one of Indonesia’s distinctive Muslim boarding schools on the final day of our 2017 Jakarta conference. The video shows some of the school’s talented students and illustrates the importance of the visit to Indonesian leaders. Also included, mid-way through the video, are statements from IARJ leaders Douglas Todd and Endy Bayuni.
St. Nicholas is one of the world’s most popular Christian saints and some Christians are promoting celebration of his December feast day as an alternative to the overly commercialized Santa Claus at Christmas. IARJ members David Crumm and Stephanie Fenton talk with St. Nicholas expert Carol Myers to provide journalists helpful tips for covering this festive—and also complex and sometimes controversial—religious observance.