Update on our 5Q+1 process

A Question Mark on Stained Glass Posters2Coming soon

One of the goals of GetReligion is to have a two-way conversation with journalists. We do that in the posts and comments pages, of course, but we also want to try something new.

In the near future we will begin an series of occasional posts that we will call “5Q+1.” The goal is talk to journalists whose work involves religious issues and events, whether they are assigned to the Godbeat or not. We hope to ask a few basic questions and store the answers in this pull-down archive on the masthead.

What kind of questions? Here’s what we’re thinking:

(1) Where do you like to get your news about religion?

(2) What is the most important religion story right now that you think the mainstream media just don’t get?

(3) What is the story that you’ll be watching carefully in the next year or two?

(4) Why is it important for journalists to understand the role of religion in our world today?

(5) What’s the funniest, most ironic twist that you’ve seen in a religion news story lately?

And the +1 or “fill in the blanks” question is: Do you have anything else you want to tell us about religion coverage in the mainstream news media?

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • R. N. Wightman

    I submit Julia Duin for an interview. I have liked her stuff for years. Also, the entire Religion Staff at the Dallas Morning News, which is where I get a lot of news that is useful.

    Oh, yeah, and maybe Katie Couric. You could ask her if she doesnt feel that making movies that are totally secular or promote a gay or sexually promiscuous agenda might not be “potentially divisive at this time when we need to draw together as a nation”. Sound like a winner?

  • Larry Rasczak

    (1) Where do you like to get your news about religion? The WEB. I look to religious people to write these stories because the secular MSM just gets it plain wrong to much of the time for me to trust them.

    (2) What do you think is the most important religion story right now that you think the mainstream media just don’t get? WOW…
    That’s tough because there are so many.
    I think the most pressing is the total misunderstanding of Islam. The Religion of Peace is anything but. Until the press realizes that Islam is NOT Christianity with a few bells and whistles added, they will NEVER understand why Australian Christians don’t riot after a Bible is deliberately desecrated by Moslems, why there aren’t millitant Buddhists blowing up skyscrapers, and why bombs keep going off Israeli resturants, London subways, Spanish train stations, Indonesian bars, and Pakistani churches, why Christian Africans are getting slaughtered and enslaved in Sudan, planes are flown into prominent American buildings, why schools are taken over in Beslan, why the first thing the Palestinians did in Gaza was loot and destroy the greenhouses, and why the crazy President of Iran means what he says when he talks about wanting to kill all the Jews with nukes.

    I think the most important religion story that isn’t being written is the “de-Christianaztion” of Europe (and much of the U.S., and the ECUSA for that matter). For a culture that founded by Christians and has deep Christian roots, moving away from Christianity is a HUGE deal, bigger than Rome moving away from Paganisim to Christianity. Until the press understands Christianity and it’s importance (and uniqueness) in history, and its absolutely central role in estabilishing the West and the freedoms they enjoy, they can’t really understand why this is important, or what it means. Not only that they can’t really understand any other religion either. They don’t understand how central religion is to other cultures because they don’t understand the Judeo-Christian religion and and how central it is is to Western culture.

    (3) What is the story that you’ll be watching carefully in the next year or two? The Jihad.

    (4) Why is it important for journalists to understand the role of religion in our world today? See #2. Hey people, look around, it is 1618 all over again… (or more properly A.D. 636… 1453 if you are a pessimist, A.D. 70 if the Iranian President gets his wish).

    (5) What’s the funniest, most ironic twist that you’ve seen in a religion news story lately? The “assault ministry” thing.

    And the +1 element of the list is an opportunity for journalists to say something else to us that is on their minds.

    (6) What else would you like to say about how religion is covered in the mainstream news media?
    It would really help if more members of the mainstream media HAD a religion, and practiced it. Religious coverage in the MSM is like the 40 year old virgin writing the letters to the editor section for Penthouse.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    YO, LARRY!

    I’m not asking readers to ANSWER the questions (although that’s fun). I want your input on whether the questions are WORDED RIGHT. Or, would anyone like to propose a different question?

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer TK

    I look forward to this feature! The title is a little too obscure for me, but then I’m not an esteemed religion writer. How about “Get Religion Asks…”

  • MattK

    Dan Savage. I haven’t read him in a few years, but I heard him on NPR a couple of months ago. I’d love to see an interview of Dan Savage. He isn’t a reporter, though. He is an essayist and advice columnist in the “alternative” press. Every one of his columns is crowded with ghosts.

  • Dennis Colby

    I’d suggest Brian Murphy and Rachel Zoll, the AP’s domestic religion writers.

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Questions to ask: Do you think it is possible to fairly and accurately report on a religion wholly from the outside and without experiencing the reality of being a practicing, orthodox member of that religion? (In otherwords can religion be covered merely the way science or politics is covered?)Needless to say I like Larry’s last comment about virgins at Penthouse.
    Also: Do you think religion reporting is affected by the fact religion reporters in the MSM are steeped in a professional culture that polls show is just about the most irreligious in America?

  • Larry Rasczak

    “YO, LARRY!

    I’m not asking readers to ANSWER the questions (although that’s fun). I want your input on whether the questions are WORDED RIGHT. Or, would anyone like to propose a different question? ”

    Uhh…duh…

    OK.. me dumb again.

    LOL!

  • Michael

    Do you think religion reporting is affected by the fact religion reporters in the MSM are steeped in a professional culture that polls show is just about the most irreligious in America?

    I’d be curious what their peers think about their reporting and whether they really believe the profession is as Godless as portrayed by conservatives. What kind of discussions take place with reporters and editors in the newsrooms about these kinds of issues.

    Suggested interviewees: Amy Sullivan, Jeff Sharlet

  • MJBubba

    While you are polling journalists, how about updating the knowledge base? “Do you belong to an organized religion? If so, are you active in practice? If not, do you have a personal religion, or no religion?”