2004 Summer Newsletter


  1. Chair’s comments
  2. 2004 RMIG program for Annual Conference
  3. Communication and Faith Conference Planned
  4. RMIG Call for Papers
  5. SMIG invites GIFT submissions
  6. RMIG member news
  7. Resources in Religion and Media
  8. Reviewers needed


For these articles and essays, keep reading past the jump.

Chair’s message

Crossing Boundaries

By Rick Moore, Boise State University
RMIG 2003-04 Head

I hope you are all excited about the fact that AEJMC is going international this year for its convention site. Though Toronto might not be Istanbul, the idea of crossing an international boundary for our meeting seems important nonetheless.

In fact, I’d like to see our international trek as an opportunity to encourage us as RMIG members to think beyond the local. I want to propose two ways of doing that.

Let me start by explaining the alternative, my vision of the purely “local” academic. Many of us typically complete a research project each year and submit it to Eric and Ken, our Research Committee Chairs. Certainly this activity is crucial to the life of RMIG and I want to encourage all of you to follow through with your normal activities and submit on deadline. I look forward to some fascinating paper presentations in August.

I would suggest that if you wish to cross borders, however, you might want to consider serving the interest group as an invited panelist (the first of my “two ways” mentioned above). Each year we co-sponsor a number of panels with other divisions and interest groups. On each of these panels, our co-sponsors provide some panelists and we provide the rest. Our Vice Head, Michael Longinow, has the ultimate duty of selecting the RMIG representatives. What I would like to recommend is that you look at the subject matter of the panels we are co-sponsoring this year and ask whether you have some expertise to provide therein. If you do, please contact Michael as soon as possible so he can consider you for one of these positions.

I also want to suggest a second way of crossing borders that requires even less commitment on your part but could be of great benefit in increasing the size and diversity of RMIG. As you are doing your teaching and/or research in religion and media between now and August, please pay attention to the names of authors who you find to be raising interesting new questions in the field. When you encounter such a person in your reading, please take a moment find out if he/she is a member of RMIG.

If that person is not part of the interest group, offer a warm invitation to join. And as you’re doing so, make special reference to the fact that this year’s convention is in a beautiful and diverse city just across the border.

Panel topics aim at broad spectrum in Toronto; panelists needed by March 1 deadline

By Michael A. Longinow, Asbury College
RMIG vice-head

Your reputation precedes you. And if you’re a long-term member of this interest group, that reputation was part of what helped us get the great slate of panels for Toronto that you see below into the schedule. (Now we need your help in coming up with panelists, but we’ll come back to that.)

As some of you know non-success of landing panels draws heavily on our interest group’s ability to convince others to collaborate on co-sponsorship. And that persuasion comes from knowing about who we are.

In the end, the work you all have been doing out there in your writing and presenting is probably what helped us get the panels we did. Religion and media are a growing mix of media interest and the membership of AEJMC is learning where to go to tap into the excitement.

Here is the schedule for RMIG’s portion of the 2004 Annual Conference. All panels must fulfill the three larger missions of AEJMC, namely teaching, research, or professional freedom and responsibility (PF&R).

Wednesday, August 4, 2004
1:30-3:30 p.m. Visualizing the “Other”: Cultural Sensitivity in Photojournalism Design
(PF&R panel co-sponsored with VisCom). We need two panelists.

6:45-8 p.m. AEJMC Keynote Address

Thursday, Aug. 5, 2004
10 a.m. AEJMC Plenary

11:45 a.m. Covering Same-Sex Marriage and Civil Unions
(PF&R panel co-sponsored with the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Interest Group for which we provide two panelists)

3:15 p.m. Is There A Right (Wing Conspiracy) to Die? Reporting on Assisted Suicide
(Co-sponsored with Media & Disability Interest Group. We provide two panelists for this session)

5 p.m. RMIG Juried Research Panels

8:30 p.m. RMIG members’ meeting.

Friday, Aug. 6, 2004
8:15 a.m. Religious Ethics in Public Policy News Coverage: “No, No” or 21st Century Necessity
(PF&R panel was co-sponsored with the Media Ethics Division. We need two panelists and a respondent for this panel)

1:30 p.m. The Politics of Fear: A Cross- Cultural Analysis of Media Coverage of the Iraq War
Mini-plenary session was co-sponsored with International Communication Division and Newspaper Division. We need to supply one panelist.

3:15 p.m. RMIG juried research panel

If any of the above spark names or leads for high-profile, well-read panelists in academia or in the media professions, please pass them along to me or Rick Moore. And the sooner the better! (We need to finalize these panels by March 1.)

If your panel idea does not appear in the above list, please know that your panel idea was good enough to make the discussion. There were many ideas submitted.

Your RMIG officers encourage you to turn that panel idea into a research paper that gets turned in by the end of March. Keep up the good work and make plans to join us in Toronto!

Michael A. Longinow, Ph.D
Professor of Journalism
Journalism Program Coordinator
Department of Communication Arts
Asbury College
Room 400
Morrison Hall
1 Macklem Drive
Wilmore, Kentucky 40390-1198
859-858-3511 ext. 2348
fax 859-858-3921

Faith and Communication Focus of Spring Conference

A Conference on Communication and Faith will be May 15 at Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C. The cost is $45.

The meeting is a conference for communication scholars with a Christian perspective.

Feb. 15 was the date for abstracts, but attendance to the meeting is still open. Presented papers will be published after the meeting. For more information, contact Prof. Ed Johnson, Dept of Mass Communication, Campbell University, Buies Creek, NC 27506. Phone: 910-893-1520.

RMIG Call for Papers

Please see the general call at AEJMC’s website, http://www.aejmc.org/calls/04papercall.html, for the general Call for Papers. Papers should be sent to Ken Loomis and Eric Gormly, Unversity of North Texas.

Dr. Eric Gormly
Dept of Journalism,
University of North Texas,
P.O.Box 311460,
Denton, Texas 76203-1460
940-369-5975 (voice);
940-565-2370 (fax);
gormly@unt.edu (email).

GIFT 2004

The Community College Journalism Association (CCJA), Small Programs Interest Group (SPIG) and the Scholastic Journalism Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) are seeking Great Ideas For Teachers (GIFT) for a mega-poster session at the AEJMC convention on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2004, 3:15 to 4:45 p.m., in Toronto, Canada, to showcase 25 of the year’s most innovative teaching tips from the world’s best journalism and mass communication educators time for the new academic year!

GIFT, which is celebrating its 5th year, was founded to recognize excellence in the scholarship of teaching journalism and mass communication.

All AEJMC members are eligible to submit one (1) GIFT for blind peer review; graduate teaching assistants are also encouraged to participate in this opportunity to share their innovative teaching tips. GIFT finalists/scholars will be selected for inclusion in the poster session, a GIFT publication, the AEJMC program listing and GIFT scholar Web page index (http://www.geocities.com/aejmcgift/index.html).

Moreover, finalists/scholars are eligible to win a $100 grand prize and commemorative plaque to be awarded at the convention. All receive a souvenir certificate for their teaching portfolios as well.

Teaching tips wanted include but are not limited to the following courses: advertising, broadcast journalism, general or introductory mass communications, ethics, history, international/multicultural communication, law, public relations, research, technology and new media, visual communication and writing.

Those interested in sharing their GIFT must describe their teaching idea in proper form (available from http://www.geocities.com/aejmcgift) and submit it via email (preferred) and/or regular mail (recommended back-up copy) to the GIFT coordinator (e-mail aejmcgift@yahoo.com for current mailing address).

All entries must be received (not postmarked) by April 1, 2004 and will be reviewed by a panel of six judges based on originality, creativity, practicality, adaptability and impact. Submissions will be acknowledged but not returned. NOTE: GIFT finalists only will be notified of their status after May 15.

For more information about the GIFT program, contact Dr. Edna R. Bautista, the GIFT Program coordinator, at aejmcgift@yahoo.com, or go to the new GIFT Web site at http://www.geocities.com/aejmcgift/index.html.

Member news and views

From Lynn Schofield Clark: Doctoral Fellowships in Media, Religion, and Culture will be available for the 2004-2005, 2005-2006, and 2006-2007 academic years in the amount of $12,000/year. Students are eligible in their proposal-writing year, and there are no residency requirements. These grants are funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc. and are administered through the University of Colorado’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The deadline is April 5. More information is available at www.mediareligion.org.

From Lynn Schofield Clark: Lynn Schofield Clark, Assistant Research Professor at the University of Colorado, has received the Best Scholarly Book award from the National Communication Association’s Ethnography Division for From Angels to Aliens: Teenagers, the Media, and the Supernatural (Oxford University Press, 2003). The book explores how young people understand popular culture’s stories of the supernatural in relation to their religious or spiritual identity. The book has been reviewed in the Washington Post Book WorldPublisher’s WeeklyChristianity TodayChristian CenturyChoice Magazine, and the Library Journal. Lynn has also been interviewed about the book on PBS’s Religion and Ethics Newsweekly and by Newsweek and several dailies including the Dallas Morning News and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. She has also been an invited guest on several talk radio programs in the U.S. and around the world.

From Lynn Schofield ClarkMedia, Home, and Family, by Stewart M. Hoover, Lynn Schofield Clark, and Diane Alters, with Joseph Champ and Lee Hood, has just been released by Routledge Press (January, 2004). This book grows out of an interview-based study that looked at how different families in the U.S. establish and carry out rules about media use in the home, and how those rules relate to projects of family identity.

From J. Douglas Tarpley on three Biola seminars he will host during the next few months:

  1. Journalism In Residence: George Archibald in March. He’ll be teaching about Christians and the National News Media – personal and professional strategies for “telling the truth.” Four-time Pulitzer nominee and veteran Washington, D.C. journalist of 25 years, George broke many of the national investigative storeis about which we’ve all read during the past two decades.
  2. Seminar with the World Journalism Institute in July. This West-coast venture follows establishment and operation of similar ones in New York and Washington, D.C. (I helped to start the DC program while at Regent.)
  3. Career Philosophy Seminar for Christian men/women entering the journalism profession. Weekend program with Leadership Institute (Washington, D.C.) to be held in mid-March, 2004.

J. Douglas Tarpley, Ph.D.
Chairman, Journalism
Mass Media Department
Biola University
La Mirada, CA
Home: 909 776 1605
Ca Cell: 909 231 7225

From Stephen Perry: You might be interested in a conference for communication scholars with a Christian perspective. A conference on Communication and Faith is being sponsored by Campbell University in Buies Creek, NC. The conference will be held on Saturday, May 15th, and will cost $45 for registration. If you would be interested in being a presenter at the conference, 200 – 400 word abstracts of your proposed paper presentation should be submitted on MSWord or ASCII format by email to johnsone@mailcenter.campbell.edu.

They may also be submitted on floppy disk formatted for PCs and mailed to Prof. Ed Johnson, Dept of Mass Communication, Campbell University, Buies Creek, NC 27506. Abstracts are due on February 15th, 2004. Accepted papers that are judged to be superior by the attendees will be selected for publication in the conference proceedings to be published by mid-summer.

I hope this generates some interest at least among scholars in the Southeast regional area. Some of us from the midwest are planning to attend as well. For more information call Ed Johnson at Campbell at 910-893-1520 or send him an email.

From Claire Badaracco: I teach a hybrid course, using videoconference and web on media and Religion. I’m teaching it again in Fall 2004, and I’m interested in talking and possibly collaborating on selected modules with others. We have a state of the art facility and five year’s experience doing linkups with remote campuses. If interested, contact me at:

Claire Badaracco, PhD.
Professor, College of Communication
Marquette University

Resources in Religion and Media

The topic of Religion and Media has become a hot commodity, with new and wonderful resources emerging every day.

These resources include The Revealer, a weblog that critiques coverage of religion in the media in part by pointing out sophisticated and complex stories. It’s thoughtful and intriguing. You can find it at www.therevealer.org.

Another service is a daily aggregator of religion news, found on the website of the Religion Newswriters Association. The home page at www.religionwriters.com includes generally 15 to 20 of the best religion stories of the day, hand-picked by a veteran journalist with many years of experience. It’s free.

Religion Newswriters also has an area set up to post syllabi for courses in religion and media. It’s new, but it is missing something important: your syllabi. If you’ve taught a course in religion and media sometime in the past five years, consider passing it along. You can send it to Debra Mason at mason@religionwriters.com.

Don’t forget that RNA’s site also includes an “FAQ in Religion Reporting,” written by some of the nation’s leading religion reporters. Your students can review it there, or contact RNA to send you hardcopies.

Reviewers needed

The Journal of Media and Religion needs research paper submissions and book reviewers. If you’re interested in reviewing books for the journal, please contact Debra Mason, Book Review Editor. For research paper queries, contact Dan Stout at Brigham Young University.


We Are Not Alone

By Guy Golan, Assistant professor, LSU

For those of us who conduct research on religion and mass communication, it is comforting to know that every April 1st we can send in a paper into the Religion and Media Interest Group of AEJMC. During the past years, we have all seen a steady increase in number of paper submissions to the interest group as well as presentations. Membership in the interest group has been on the incline and many new faces have chosen to take on leadership positions. Clearly, research in our field has grown thanks in part to the establishment of the RMIG and the more recent publication of the Journal of Media and Religion. It is important to remember that research on the complex relationship between the media and religion is not limited to scholarship present in our interest group. An informal analysis of AEJMC paper abstracts presented between 1999 and 2003 revealed a wide array of research papers that could have easily been presented at the RMIG but were instead presented in other divisions.

Here are some examples of some relevant titles:

“Branding Religion: Christian Consumers’ Understandings of Christian Products” and “A Propaganda Analysis of the Shared Values Initiative: The First US Advertising Campaign to the Muslim World” were presented in the Advertising Division, “Message Framing and Measuring Emotional Response to Islam and Terrorism: A Comparison Between Christians, Jews and Muslims” and “FAITH-BASED INITIATIVE? Religion, Mass Media, and Political Participation in America” were presented in the Theory and Methodology Division, “Images of Islam: Exemplification as Elegance in the Post-9/11 Works of Thomas Friedman” and “Missionary Translation in Colonial Kenya: Groundwork for Nationalism” were presented in the International Division, “Popularizing Evangelicalism: Cultural Implications of Contemporary Christian Music” and “More Barney Than Buddhist”: How the Media Framed the Story of the Little Lama” were presented in the Critical and Cultural Division.

These are but a few examples of more than a dozen religion related AEJMC papers that were presented outside of the RMIG during the past few years.

The fact that many scholars outside of our interest group are involved in research on religion and media should serve as encouraging news. First, it highlights the continuing trend in the growth in scholarship on religion and media. Clearly, this area of research is no longer a fringe topic but an up and coming research theme. Second, the trend highlights the opportunities of the RMIG to cooperate with many of its fellow AEJMC divisions and interest groups in the cultivation and presentation of scholarship on religion and media. In preparation for the 2004 convention, we should all encourage our colleagues to submit papers to the RMIG and at the same time pay attention to relevant research that will end up in other divisions.

An Essay: The Call for Spirituality, Mass Media and National Development

By Edwin K. Thomas, Norfolk State University

In the “Book of Genesis” of The Jerusalem Bible (1971) used by the Judaic and Christian faiths, God “spoke” His creation into existence thus the inherent power of speech and the word. After, God created Adam and Eve. As “caretakers” He determined their importance for love and service. God told them not to eat of the tree of life. They disobeyed. Consequences for humanity followed with instructions and obedience being essential for our existence. (Genesis 1-3:24).


In 1998, a paper on A Bahai’s Perspective entitled “Valuing Spirituality in Development,” was part of the “World Faiths and Development Dialogue,” which recognized the basic value of the oneness of humanity to be at the heart of a new civilization. It supported:

  • The intellectual development of the individual,
  • The guarantees of freedoms,
  • Fostering equality and partnerships of women and men,
  • The nurturing of families,
  • Protecting the environment,
  • The widespread participation of all groups in a society, and
  • A desire to serve.

Today’s national development indicators generally examine a country’s “human capital, social capital, culture, social integration and community well-being,” but Bahai proposes the following objectives be explored:

  • Unity in diversity,
  • Equity and justice,
  • Equality of the sexes,
  • Trustworthiness, moral leadership, and
  • An independent investigation of the truth.

The Interplay of Spirituality, Mass Media and National Development

It is generally agreed that events of this world are expressions of the spiritual. As a result, spirituality, the mass media and national development are intricately related. They impact each other in subtle and not so subtle ways. Habermas (1989) in discussing eighteenth century Europe questioned religion’s role. (p. 53). On the contrary, Underwood (2002) saw a noticeable connection in the importance of the word, discussion, and debate that are present in democratic institutions and societies.

Public trust is important in the presentation of news, information and entertainment. Freedoms of speech, religion, and the press have to be guaranteed in their myriad forms. The citizenry has to be exposed to various media, be it books, newspapers, magazines, films, radio, TV, cell phones, and the Internet, without restraints from their governments, corporations, other interests or competing groups.

The press has a special role to play as “watchdogs.” In a “market place of ideas,” they are to uphold fundamental principles of fairness, accuracy, decency, and honesty. With such a perspective, unity and diversity will be inclusive and essential. All, including minority groups and women, will be contributors to nation building. Citizens of all shades of complexions, creeds, and nationalities will be reporters, designers, architects, engineers, etc. Their mission will be of the highest moral, intellectual, spiritual, and creative dimensions. As expressions of the truth, these efforts will be blessed, manifest themselves in what are enduring, and be entrenched in our social fabric.

Printing: Its Genesis in Europe

During the Middle Ages (A.D. 476 c.1450) priests and monks in Europe devoted their lives to translating and preserving liturgical texts.

Beginning in 1450 with the help of his partner Johann Fust, Johann Guttenberg of Germany printed several books and in 1456 the Bible to the delight many Europeans. In 1476, William Caxton did the same with his small rudimentary press in England. Such innovations had the effects of revolutionizing Europe.

Michael and Edwin Emery (1996) explained that Elizabeth Eisenstein in The Printing Press as an Agent of Change (1980):
.. assembled evidence supporting her thesis that spread of printing in the late fifteen and sixteenth centuries ripped apart the social and structural fabric of life in Western Europe and reconnected it in new ways that give shape to modern patterns. The availability of printed materials made possible societal, cultural, familial, and industrial changes facilitating the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the scientific revolution. (pp. 3-4)

What hath God Wrought? Numbers 23:23 (KJB)

From the use of ponies, pigeons, trains and steamboats to deliver news to printing presses in the American colonies came the telegraph.

On May 24, 1844, its inventor, Samuel F.B. Morse sent the message “What hath God Wrought?” via telegraphic code. His dots and dashes laid the foundation of electronic voice transmissions. Morse’s prophetic saying came down through history as having far reaching ramifications of America’s and the world’s mass communication systems and mass media convergence in existence today.


In Europe, Guttenberg and Caxton were very important figures in the development of printing. Morse invented the telegraph that revolutionized newsgathering and the electronic media. In societies around the world, these inventors’ creations are still seen as rudimentary for shaping nations’ educational, social, agricultural, industrial, economic, legal and political systems. They have transformed nations in what McLuhan (1964) described as a “global village,” thus reminding us again of the oneness of humanity.


Bahai’s Perspective. (1998, February). “Valuing Spirituality in Development,” a dialogue hosted by the President of the World Bank and the Archbishop Of Canterbury at Lambeth, England. Online: http://www.bic-un.bahai.org/98-0218.htm. Accessed 11/10/03.

de Beer, Arnold S, & Merrill, John C. (Eds.). (2004). Global journalism: Topical issues and media systems, 4th ed. Boston: Pearson.

Emery, Michael, Emery, Edwin, & Nancy, Roberts L. (1996). The press and America: An interpretive history of the mass media, 8th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Eisenstein, Elizabeth. (1980). The printing press as an agent of change. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press

God’s Word. (n.d.). “Numbers,” In The King James Bible Red Lettered. Asheville, North Carolina: Global Bible Society

Habermas, Juergen. (1989). The structural transformation of the public sphere. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Jones, Alexander. (Ed.). (1971). “The Book of Genesis,” In The Jerusalem Bible. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company.

McLuhan, Marshall. (1964). Understanding media: The extensions of man. New York: Mc Graw-Hill.

McLuhan, Marshall, & Fiore, Quentin. (1967). The medium is the message. New York: Bantam.

Underwood, Doug. (2002). From Yaweh to Yahoo: The religious roots of the secular press. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Dr. Erwin K. Thomas is a professor in the Department of Mass Communications & Journalism, Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA. He is the author of Make Better Videos With Your Camcorder, TAB BOOKS, 1991; co-editor of a Handbook on the Mass Media in the United States: The Industry and Its Audiences and Mass Media in 2025: Industries, Organizations, People, and Nations, Greenwood Press, 1994 and 2001 respectively.

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