Exploring Media and Religion - With a Study of Professional Media Practices
The article focuses on how media and religion relate, investigating the specific professional practices of media reporting on religion. Journalism is objective, while religion is subjective - however, scholars agree that today it is difficult to imagine religion isolated from the relation with media. Therefore, the media coverage of religion, that includes identifying the proper approaches to objectively frame subjective topics, becomes a challenge. The paper provides a theoretical background on the main characteristics of the media industry and the models of journalism, good professional practices in reporting on religion, along with a brief overview at the situation of religious media content in worldwide media institutions and in Romania. Finally, a study on professional practices in local media was conducted, investigating how both mainstream and religious (niche) media journalists cover religious topics. Questions addressed by this paper refer to the principles of good reporting on religion, to the specific interaction between the Church and the media since more and more indicate media as source of knowledge for religion, and, finally, to the way media and religion are handling together the continuous challenges imposed by the fast technological progress in worldwide media communication.
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