Journalists around the world are scrambling to follow the spread of COVID 19, also known as Coronavirus. To encourage other religion journalists to report on the impact, Elisa Di Bendetto writes: “I live in the Veneto region of Italy, about 120 km from the locked down town of Vo’ Euganeo and 60 km from the nearest cases, and I can report first-hand that confirmed cases of the virus dramatically change life for people of faith.”
ALERT for journalists across Europe and around the Mediterranean basin that the deadline for the first Piazza Grande Religion Journalism Award is now extended to April 27, 2020. This column also has links to the entry page, contest details and information on the international jury of prominent journalists —and answers to frequently asked questions.
The IARJ and Fondazione per le Scienze Religiose Giovanni XXIII (FSCIRE) announced the names of the seven journalists serving as members of the international jury of the 1st Piazza Grande Religion Journalism Award. The winner will be presented at the 2020 annual conference of the European Academy of Religion (EuARe), next June. Journalists across Europe and around the Mediterranean basin can submit their works by February 28, 2020.
The IARJ’s Elisa Di Benedetto reports on a landmark conference in Rome that brought together 250 religious leaders, healthcare experts and scholars from 35 countries to develop a better understanding of the role religion can play in healthy aging. Two IARJ co-founders participated: Elisa and Maria Paz Lopez. This issue can be a rich source of stories for religion writers around the world.
How can religions, media, international organizations and human rights advocates work together to address religious persecution? The IARJ’s Elisa Di Benedetto reports on the involvement of IARJ founding members at a gathering of more than 100 delegates from nearly 50 countries for the 26th Annual Law and Religion Symposium under the theme: Human Dignity and Religious Freedom at Brigham Young University.
At our Warsaw conference, a public forum for experts on religion in Eastern Europe was sponsored by the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA). This session, titled “From Solidarity forward: The tangled web of religion, history and politics in Eastern Europe,” took place at the University of Warsaw Faculty of Journalism, and was streamed online.
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.
IARJ’s members are active in journalism training. In the latest IARJ @ Work, co-managing director Elisa Di Benedetto describes her participation in the training program by OUSPJ – Ohio University’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.