The National Association of Broadcasters and its NAB Education Foundation have added a set of online "Reporting on Religion" tools to their "Awareness in Reporting" initiative, which provides practical advice for covering sensitive issues, in this case religious groups and movements.
The Awareness in Reporting initiative launched in 2015, with the first set of tools published for "Reporting on Race."
NAB tapped representatives from journalism education, training and diversity to help come up with the tools and help broadcast journalists cover "sensitive stories" on religion.
"Religion can be controversial and the beliefs and practices of faith groups – which they claim are divinely inspired – can be at odds with societal values or a journalist’s personal beliefs or worldview," the toolkit advises in its "general guidance" section. "The journalist’s role is to understand what people believe and practice and then explain those beliefs and practices to a broader audience."
For example, under Judaism, it says: "Seeking quick quotes and reaction from the most stereotypical perspectives reinforces bias and does not serve journalists well. Politically active Jewish groups can have widely differing opinions on public policy matters."
The Reporting on Religion tools were unpacked at a panel session at NAB headquarters in Washington Monday.
Television is still the most popular source of news for most Americans, with local broadcast TV news tops among TV outlets, according to Pew Research Center.
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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