We don’t need no religion education, or do we?

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I’m on the road this week, sunburned and tuckered out.

So rather than do a normal GetReligion critique, I’m going to ask a couple of journalism questions that are related to what we do here.

First question: Do you know any journalists who could benefit from advanced study of religion?

If so, I have terrific news. The Religion Newswriters Association invites journalists to apply to its Lilly Scholarships in Religion Program. According to an RNA news release, the scholarships give full-time journalists up to $5,000 to take any college religion courses at any accredited institution at any time.

What a deal!

More from the news release:

Religion headlines are dominating news coverage—politics, religion, Islam in America — now is the perfect time to dig deeper into today’s hottest stories. More than 290 people have already taken advantage of RELIGION | NEWSWRITERS’ Lilly Scholarships in Religion Program for Journalists.

Topics reporters have studied include: Religion & Politics in the 20th Century and Beyond, God & Politics, Buddhism in the Modern World, Politics of International Religious Freedom, Religion and Social Justice, Violence and Liberation, Muslim-Christian Relations in World History and many more.

“The courses led to dozens of story ideas and new resources. I came out a sharper researcher and writer, two benefits I was not expecting going in,” said Eric Marrapodi of CNN who took four Lilly scholarship courses in three years at Georgetown University.

The scholarships can be used at accredited colleges, universities, seminaries or similar institutions.

Read on for more info.

Journalists can choose any religion, spirituality or ethics course. Scholarships cover tuition, books, registration fees, parking and other course-related costs. Online and travel classes are also eligible (as long as travel costs are part of the curriculum).

All full-time journalists working in the general circulation news media — including reporters, editors, designers, copy editors, editorial writers, news directors, researchers and producers — are eligible, regardless of their beat.

The next scholarship application deadline is July 1, 2014. Scholarships must be used within three months of their award date.

Second question: Is there too little good news about religion in the mainstream media?

This tweet passed along by a reader inspired me to contemplate that question:

Got an opinion? By all means, share it in the comments section.

About Bobby Ross Jr.

Bobby Ross Jr. is an award-winning reporter and editor with a quarter-century of professional experience. A former religion editor for The Oklahoman and religion writer for The Associated Press, Ross serves as chief correspondent for the The Christian Chronicle. He has reported from 47 states and 11 countries and was honored as the Religion Newswriters Association's 2013 Magazine Reporter of the Year.

  • MDevlin

    I personally don’t want to read good religion news just for the heck of it. It needs to be actual news. My gripe with bad religion news is when it doesn’t seem newsworthy. Last February, seeing that first news story about a pastor not tipping a server bothered me because it was about two people in conflict over maybe $20 — it didn’t affect anyone else but them, and I thought the media over-reached with it. I’m wiling to accept genuine news — good, bad or indifferent.


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