The largest-ever Global Faith and Media Study launched earlier this year and is shaking up the way people look at media’s relationship with faith coverage.
The study, commissioned by the Faith and Media Initiative (FAMI) and conducted by global market research company HarrisX, shows that demand for media coverage of faith topics is high, while journalists admit that coverage of those topics is low and often not encouraged.
An overwhelming amount of the 9,000 global citizens interviewed also believe that media coverage can perpetuate faith-related stereotypes rather than protect against them, according to FAMI.
Here’s a sampling of what faith thought leaders are writing about the study:
- Former pastor, book author and Progressive Christian writer Keith Giles: “When negative religious and ethnic stereotypes are reinforced, it gives people permission to marginalize those people, and to justify policies that lead to their oppression.” Read more
- Evangelical writer and medical doctor Adrian Warnock: “Faith Bloggers are already producing wonderful religious content which deserves a wider audience, the mainstream media has a vacuum that needs filling. Why don’t we collaborate?” Read more
- Educator and Catholic writer Lois Kerschen: “Few, if any, reporters consider our perspective as Catholics on social justice, morality, or life issues. Editors rarely assign any religious topics unless they are criticizing the Church or revealing dissent or scandal.” Read more
- Muslim fashion and women’s writer Nadia Ahmed: “Recently there have been a lot of discussions related to the issues of hijab, niqab, and burqa. There is a lot of misinformation out there about these Islamic garments and it’s important that the media get it right.” Read more
- World religion history writer Barbara O’Brien: “Apparently neither journalists nor religious people are happy with religious journalism these days. But it’s arguably been worse.” Read more
- Social media manager and veteran journalist Kate O’Hare: “Too often, what seems ordinary to one is weird to the other; what seems important to one appears trivial to the other; what comforts one frightens the other. This is especially stark in the coverage of religion.” Read more
- Book author and Evangelical writer Gene Veith: “Whether the respondents were “highly religious,” “middle of the way,” or “secular,” across all nations and across all cultures, there was wide-spread agreement that the media in each of their countries largely ignore or distort religion.” Read more
- Veteran Indian Political Journalist Sheila Bhatt: “The survey pointed out the urgency to improve media coverage of religion and faiths as it affects every aspect of people’s daily life and culture on the planet.” Read more
- Educator and Progressive Christian writer Dr. James F. McGrath: There is a tendency to ignore religion unless an extreme view is expressed or an immoral act is committed. Controversy gets clicks and there is thus pressure to ignore the mainstream. This is not the media’s fault,” Read more
- Christian website senior editor and religious entertainment writer Paul Asay: “One of the world’s most powerful forces is under-covered and misunderstood. And that impacts not just those of us who are religious, but those who aren’t. It leads to marginalization and polarization in an already shrill, fractured culture.” Read more
- Deseret News religion writer Kelsey Dallas: “As I read through the report and worked on my article, I found myself arguing with the results and trying to write off people’s frustrations.” Read more
- Director of the Peninsula Multifaith Coalition of the San Francisco Bay and relationship writer Dr. Dilip Amin: “In the wake of all the negative vibes being created about Hinduism by the media, this HarrisX study gives a much-needed breather. ” Read more
- Catholic convert and a former ordained Baptist and Lutheran minister William Hemsworth: “The study revealed a growing gap between the needs of the faithful and the coverage of faith that the media gives. It also shows that people of faith have an increasing desire for better news coverage.” Read more
- Former journalist and Progressive Christian writer Ginny Baxter: “Most of us want more balanced stories about faith and religion, and the study is a good place to jumpstart the conversation in that direction.” Read more