In early May, religion reporters around the world are preparing stories on Eid al-Fitr, the closing festival of Ramadan. Reporting from his home in Algeria, Larbi Megari describes both the optimism and the anxieties common in Muslim communities as families experience their second Ramadan during the COVID pandemic.
Journalists who cover religion will find a wealth of story ideas and powerful quotes in a new project launched by the Elijah Interfaith Institute in Jerusalem called Coronaspection. Some 40 religious leaders—including Pope Francis, the Archbishop of Canterbury, leading imams, chief rabbis, swamis, cardinals and teachers—offer their perspectives on the pandemic.
APRIL 2020—The International Association of Religion Journalists (IARJ) is proud to announce that we have formed a new board effective immediately.
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.”
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.