In journalism and in life, a generous understanding of people's stories is crucial. Courtney Martin with more questions and counsel for imagining each other in all our complexity.
How do we avoid cliches and generalizations of entire groups of people? We must tell better stories and more of them by more people who deepen our understanding of the nuances rather than reducing them to a single narrative.
In an information-saturated world, it's the power of poetry and art that helps us transcend a steady stream of depressing news reports and partisan diatribes and process just how badly we’re hurting as a country.
Shows like Mad Men and Masters of Sex depict workplaces of the 60s — and a world that seems utterly foreign to modern eyes. Yet, Jane Gross argues, the challenges women face in the workplace have not gone away, merely shifted.
Coverage of climate change frequently sounds the alarm, summoning our worries and fears to call us to action. After 30 years of climate reporting, Andrew Revkin isn't worried anymore. A memoir of climate change that places the human condition in the foreground.
What happens when two millennial Jesuit podcasters interview Krista Tippett? Practical wisdom on the way millennials do religion and a whole host of Jesuit humor.
Where do we find spiritual solace in this warp speed culture and hyper-connected times? A journalist ponders the sacred songs and spaces that return us to the holy moments of everyday life.
This week held many surprises, including a lovely take on the story of Mary Magdalene, our first live event in our new studios, a scene from the Boston Public Library, and chopping wood with, yes, a Finnish axe.
In Ireland, former Catholics are rediscovering their religious beliefs and Irish heritage in pre-Christian spirituality. Shweta Saraswat and Tricia Tongco's story on the reemerging presence of Pagan spirituality in Dublin.
This video of the popular syndicated columnist Dan Savage speaking at a high school journalism conference in Seattle is generating some impassioned (to put it mildly) comments on YouTube.
Yesterday Ira Glass sent an email revealing that This American Life’s report on Apple’s manufacturing supplier in China “contained significant fabrications.” Mike Daisey’s story and TAL’s decisions to go to air and later retract the show have sparked a lot of discussion in journalism and public radio circles.
There’s a lot of praising, challenging, and questioning going on. Frankly, much of it feels like punditry and harmless posturing. But, this Saturday afternoon a stream of tweets by Marketplace’s John Moe put a human face on this story and some of the underlying ethical issues at stake.
(I’ve kept the format in order to preserve, hopefully, the rhythm of Moe’s thoughts.)
Two girls walk through the market in the Abushouk Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp, home to nearly 55,000 people, near the North Darfur capital El Fasher. (photo: Ian Timberlake/AFP/Getty Images)
I wasn't always a fan of Nicholas Kristof's columns in The New York Times. I'd found them at times simplistic — seeming to reduce the dramas of entire nations to individual stories of despair and/or hope. But I've discovered that there is an art and science to this approach. It was fascinating — and quite inspiring — to sit down and get inside his head on all of this.
Photo by Trey Ratcliff/Flickr, cc by-nc-nd 2.0
Picture this: an Iraqi reporter becomes interested in the work of a Jewish student in Israel after reading an article about Jewish-Muslim relations in medieval Spain that the student published online. The reporter contacts the student and interviews him about future prospects for Jewish-Muslim coexistence.
As the student in this story and co-author of this article, Joshua Stanton knows first-hand how technology is reshaping the way people of different religions interact. To start with, he and the Iraqi reporter would never have connected without the Internet, which enabled them to bypass regional politics and borders.
Personal ministry by bicycle. (photo: waferboard/Flickr, cc by-nc-sa 2.0)
Respected theologian Martin Marty has a winning article highlighting a mainstream news story that has finally gotten religion reporting right. The New York Times’ recent profile of a Baptist couple who spend their retirement doing disaster relief work stood out as a “too-rare” kind of reporting on religious people and topics as Martin Marty writes:
I teach at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Among my course offerings is religion coverage, an increasingly marginalized beat within a progressively problem-ridden industry.
Although religion is a key element in reporting on politics, culture, and society, cash-strapped news outlets are cutting back specialty beats to save money. Even more troublesome, legacy news jobs are fewer than ever, the news hole is shrinking, and the favored style of story telling is sensational, simplistic, and conflict-driven. Nevertheless, my goals remain the same: helping students to write clearly, think critically, and probe religion’s role in social and political trends and events.
For the last two years, I’ve pursued those goals by focusing on the fault-lines in the coverage of global religion. Using the Israel-Palestinian conflict as a starting point, I’ve asked students to find alternative frames for the conflict along with new voices to lift up and unsung stories to tell.
When the rapper Shyne's conversion is profiled, is Orthodox Judaism is used as just a hook?
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution etched on the doors going into the Mass Media building at Western Kentucky University. (photo: Alan Hudson/Flickr)