Religion Writer Needed–No experience required

The lack of coverage of religion in mainstream media has been a source of frustration for many of us in the religious community for years. Even worse is reporting that reflects a lack of understanding. Julia Duin identifies the problems in an article on Poynter Online.

There is
fear and
loathing of
religion
among the
gatekeepers.

She cites two examples of advertisements for
new hires on the religion beat–one from the Washington Post and the second from
the Nashville Tennessean. Neither requires previous experience covering
religion. The Post even went so far as to state that candidates need not be
religious themselves.

Imagine the
science or medical beat covered by a writer with no experience in the field.
Every day religious stories make news. The election turned on a vote about
values. We have an administration that is perhaps the most vocal about religion
in U.S. history. Religious pluralism is greater in the country today than ever
before.

Yet, despite the obvious
need for informed and competent reporters to cover this beat, it’s not even
considered a priority. This is nothing new, of course, it’s been this way for
many years. If anything, mainstream media are falling even further behind.
Duin’s conclusion: “There is fear and loathing of religion among many
gatekeepers who call the shots.”

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