The first North American meeting of the International Association of Religion Journalists (IARJ) drew more than two dozen religion writers from the United States and around the world—including Canada, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, Pakistan, Serbia, Spain and Sri Lanka. They gathered in Salt Lake City (Utah, United States) for a two-day conference on “Cultivating Understanding, Accuracy, and Empathy in a Polarized World.” In this column, two veteran IARJ members—Peggy Fletcher Stack and Elisa Di Benedetto—report on highlights of the conference.
This summer, journalists from Central and Eastern Europe gathered in Warsaw, Poland, for a conference exploring coverage of faith issues in public life, politics and history in the region, organized by the International Association of Religion Journalists (IARJ) along with a number of sponsors. This column shares comments on these issues from many of the participants.
Because of the many threats to courageous journalists around the world, the IARJ is marking Word Press Freedom Day 2019 with this important overview of both news—and helpful online resources—for journalists wanting to take steps to protect themselves and their work.
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.”
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.
In this interview in our Journalism Spotlight series, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation’s Albert Ken Dapatem talks about the challenges of covering religion in such a diverse nation. He also talks about the rise of Pentecostalism in his region of Africa and discusses the challenges he faces between his personal and professional roles in religion and spirituality.
Atsoutse Tossou is a researcher with a special interest in religion in today’s world. Originally from Togo in West Africa, Atsoutse Tossou is co-founder of the Africa and Religions project. Initiated by students from various African universities, the project aims to provide legal and sociological information on religion in Africa. In this interview he describes his project and share ideas on how journalists and scholars can work together for excellence in religion journalism.
Religion journalists in Ghana can apply for the International Association of Religion Journalists conference on “Reporting on Religion and Spirituality in Africa”, to be held in Accra, next July 28-29.
For 21 years, Peggy Fletcher Stack has covered religious issues for The Salt Lake Tribune. She says religious reporting touches all the important topics – values, ethics, communities, rituals, philosophical underpinnings, politics, meaning and provides some of the most compelling narratives in the media.