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Reporting Religion

Facts and Faith

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Benjamin J. Hubbard

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Contributors: Martin E. Marty, George W. Cornell, John Dart, Kenneth A. Briggs, Peter Elvy, William J. Thorn, Charles Austin, Herb Brin, William J. Thorn, Elizabeth Thoman, Ira Rifkin, George E. Reedy, Glen Jeansonne Reporting Religion, a collection of essays by thirteen seasoned reporters, explores the important role religion often plays in world events. They assert that responsible news coverage in the modern world must make room for the religious dimension. The essays cover topics such as the history of reporting religion, sociology of church newspapers, and the ethics of religious journalism. Several of the authors are or were reporters for leading news organizations (New York Times, United Press International, Los Angeles Times); others teach in major learning institutions in the US. This book is persuasive and timely, a must-read for the social-minded reader. Benjamin J. Hubbard is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Religion at California State University Fullerton. During his time there he taught a course on religion and mass media. He holds a PhD in Religious Studies from the University of Iowa and a Masters in Journalism from Marquette University. An expert in Judaic studies, interfaith movements, and religion and mass media, he has been a frequent contributor on religion-related issues to the Los Angeles Times/Orange County and the Orange County Register. He was the associate editor of the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle in 1981–82. Contributor Notes Reporting Religion, pp. 192–93) Charles M. Austin, an ordained Lutheran pastor, is a free-lance writer in Teaneck, N.J. and a former religion reporter for the New York Times and (Hackensack, N.J.). He has also been a staff writer for the Religious News Service, English editor for the Lutheran World Federation in Geneva, and director of news for the Lutheran Church in America. He is the author of two books and numerous articles and reviews. Kenneth A. Briggs, an ordained United Methodist elder, was religion editor of the New York Times from 1974-85. Since then he has been a free-lance writer, an adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism (1985-87), and a regular television commentator for United Methodist Communications. Briggs is also a senior editor for the Gallup Poll and is working on a book about Catholic America. Herb Brin, publisher of the California-based Heritage chain of Jewish newspapers, has won several awards for Jewish journalism, including the Communications Award of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith. A former feature writer for the Los Angeles Times, he opened the 's Middle East bureau and covered the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem. Brin is the author of four books of poetry and Ich Bin Ein Jude, about his travels in Europe and visits to the Nazi death camps. George W. Cornell, religion writer since 1951 for the Associated Press, is the author of six books about religion, including The Untamed God. An Episcopal layman, he is the recipient of numerous awards for religion reporting, including the Supple Memorial Award and the 1987 Reporter of the Year Award from the Religion Newswriters Association. John Dart has covered religion for the Los Angeles Times since 1967 and is currently first vice president of the Religion Newswriters Association. His distinctions include the Supple Memorial Award for religion writing and a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship for journalists at Stanford University. His 1976 book The Laughing Savior, about the discovery and significance of the Nag Hammadi Gnostic library, was reissued by Harper & Row in 1988 under a new title, The Jesus of Heresy and History. Peter Elvy, a Church of England priest, is vicar of Great Burstead in Essex and a former journalist. Editor of the British religious quarterly The Sower, he broadcasts regularly on radio and television and was for six years religious programs organizer for a local radio station. Elvy has contributed to publications in the U.S. and Great Britain and is the author of Buying Time: The Foundations of the Electronic Church. Glen Jeansonne is professor, Department of History, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he specializes in American political history and southern history. He has also taught at the University of Southwestern Louisiana and Williams College. Jeansonne is the author of numerous articles and four books, including Gerald L.K. Smith: Minister of Hate which was selected as best non-fiction book of 1988 by the Wisconsin Council of Writers. Martin E. Marty, Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Modern Christianity at the Uri.iversity of Chicago, is a leading authority on religion in America, including press coverage of religion, and a former president of the American Academy of Religion. Marty is the author of forty books, including Modern American Religion, Vol. I: 1893–1919, The Irony of It All; and Religion and Republic: The American Circumstance. Marty is a recipient of the National Book Award and twenty-nine honorary doctorates. George E. Reedy is Nieman Professor of Journalism at Marquette University, where he teaches journalistic ethics, and political communications and the mass media. His books include The Twilight of the Presidency, The US Senate: Paralysis or Search for Consensus?, and Lyndon B. Johnson: A Memoir. A former United Press International congressional reporter, Reedy was a longtime aid to President Johnson and served as his press secretary from 196466. Ira Rifkin, a free-lance writer in Los Angeles, specializes in articles on religion and ethics and is a regular contributor to Media & Values magazine. He is a former religion reporter for the Los Angeles Daily News. Rifkin has worked for several other news organizations, including United Press International and the Andean Times, Lima, Peru. In 197374 he taught environmental journalism at the State University of New York, New Paltz, N.Y. Elizabeth Thoman, a Catholic sister in the Congregation of the Humility of Mary, is the founding editor of Media & Values magazine and a leader in the emerging field of media awareness education. Co-author of the Guide to Teleconferencing for Churches and Religious Organizations, Thoman received the 1983 Faith and Freedom award from the Religious Heritage of America for her leadership in creating a values approach to media issues. She serves on the Standards and Practices Committee of the VISN-TV interfaith cable television network. William Thorn is associate professor and chair of the Department of Journalism at Marquette University, where he teaches religious journalism and media history and directs the Institute for Catholic Media. The current president of the Teachers and Researchers Federation of the International Catholic Union of the Press, he has authored five books, including Models of Diocesan Communication (with Frances Trampiets SC).