2013 Winter Newsletter


Here’s your winter 2013 newsletter from RMIG! Read about new publications, find out about upcoming events and meet some of our officers.


  1. Co-sponsored panels at the AEJMC conference in Washington, D.C. — Aug. 8-11, 2013
  2. New publication: “Evangelical Christians and Popular Culture: Pop Goes the Gospel”
  3. Journalism and faith conference in Jakarta, Indonesia — November 5-7, 2013
  4. Religion and Media Conference at Elon University — April 12-13, 2013
  5. Meet our new Research Co-Chair, Myna German
  6. A note about the Media Diversity Forum

For these articles, keep reading after the jump.

RMIG to co-sponsor six panels at AEJMC conference

Here’s the schedule for the co-sponsored conference panels that will be held Aug. 8-11:

Friday, Aug. 9

  • 3:15-4:45 p.m.: “Media as Cultural or Popular Religion” with the Entertainment Studies Interest Group

Moderator: Judith M. Buddenbaum, Colorado State University

Paper titles and panelists: Entertainment as Religion, Cynthia King, California State University Fullerton; Fandom as Religion, Daniel Stout, University of Nevada Las Vegas; Brands as Religion, Jan Slater, University of Illinois; Museums as Religion, David Scott, Utah Valley University

  • 5:00-6:30 p.m.: “Visual Expressions of National Memory and Personal Remembrance: Multilevel Meanings of Memorials” with the Cultural and Critical Studies Division and the Visual Communication Division

Moderator: Erika Engstrom, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Paper titles and panelists: City of Magnificent Distances: Visible Citizenship and the Memorials of Washington, D.C., Jennifer Jones Barbour, Texas A&M; Visual Culture, Vernacular Memory, and Material Tributes to the Heroes of Flight 93: The Long and Contested Transformation of ‘a Common Field’ into ‘a Field of Honor,’ Carolyn Kitch, Temple University; Creating Mormon Collective Memory through Heritage Sites, Chiung Hwang Chen, Brigham Young University, Hawaii; Life and Death Aesthetics: The Visual Construction of Roadside Crosses, Lawrence Mullen, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Saturday, Aug. 10

  • 5:15-6:45 p.m.: “Faith in the Spotlight: Celebrities, Religion and Gender in the News Media” with the Commission on the Status of Women

Moderator: Chiung Hwang Chen, Brigham Young University, Hawaii

Paper titles and the panelistsSafe, warm, and welcoming: Media framing of Catholicism in contrast to Scientology in the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes divorce narrative, Jessica Birthisel, Bridgewater State University; Advocating Attachment: Celebrity mothers on the spiritual rewards of attachment parenting, Spring-Serenity Duvall, University of South Carolina; Questioning and defending a full quiver: Discussions of reproduction and religion in discourse about the Duggar family, Stacie Meihaus Jankowski, University of Indiana, Bloomington; America’s doctor is a (not-so-secret) Muslim? Discussing Doctor Oz’s religion, Rosemary Pennington, University of Indiana, Bloomington; Tebowmania: Fandom as Religion, Erika Engstrom, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

The three Refereed Research panels are scheduled for:

  • Friday, Aug. 9: 8:15-9:45 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m.
  • Saturday, Aug. 10: 1:45-3:15 p.m.

The RMIG members’ meeting will be held on Friday, Aug. 9, from 1:30-3 p.m.

The incoming leadership training meeting will be on Sunday, Aug. 11, from 9:15-10:45 a.m.

Evangelical Christians and Popular Culture: Pop Goes the Gospel

Michael Smith of Campbell University shares a new collection entitled “Evangelical Christians and Popular Culture: Pop Goes the Gospel.” It addresses the full spectrum of evangelical media and popular culture offerings, even delving into lesser-known forms of evangelical popular culture such as comic books, video games, and theme parks. The chapters in this three-volume work are written by over 50 authors who specialize in fields as diverse as history, theology, music, psychology, journalism, film and television studies, advertising, and public relations. Volume 1 examines film, radio and television, and the Internet; Volume 2 covers literature, music, popular art, and merchandise; and Volume 3 discusses public figures, popular press, places, and events.

The work is intended for a scholarly audience but presents material in a student-friendly, accessible manner. Evangelical insiders will receive a fresh look at the wide variety of evangelical popular culture offerings, many of which will be unknown, while non-evangelical readers will benefit from a comprehensive introduction to the subject matter.

RMIG members Smith and Michael A. Longinow are both featured in it. It was published by ABC-CLIO in January 2013.

Journalism and faith conference to be held in Jakarta

Michael Loginow at Biola University writes about a conference Biola is co-sponsoring in Jakarta, Indonesia, from November 5 to 7 this fall. The conference will deal with journalism, media, and educational practice from a faith perspective. Corban University, in Salem, Oregon, is the other U.S. school sponsoring this conference to be held at Universitas Pelita Harapan. The conference welcomes original research and abstracts for workshops and panels. Loginow is the contact for workshops and panels, and Dr. Janine Allen is the contact for research papers.

To read more about the conference, click here.

Elon to host Religion and Media Conference

Amanda Sturgill at Elon University sends in information about Elon’s Religion and Media Conference from April 12 to 13. The conference keynote. Professor Robert Darden will highlight his Black Gospel Restoration project as well as his forthcoming book on the role of black gospel music on civil rights. Saturday brings a full slate of papers and panel on topics including Muslims in film, student media, and the coverage of religion at public and sectarian schools. Several RMIG members are presenting. Registration is only $25 and includes lunch on Saturday. To register, click here.

Meet our new research co-chair

Myna German of Delaware State University, has joined John Wirtz, who did an outstanding job as Research Chair last year, in a joint arrangement for next year’s Washington, D.C., annual conference. She has served RMIG in the past as Teaching Standards Chair, Professional Freedom and Responsibility Chair, Membership Chair and as a Paper Reviewer since 2010.

She has been a journalist and business reporter prior to coming to academia and serves as chair of the Mass Communications Department in Delaware. Here’s a Q & A with her:

What types of research papers would you like to see in the future?

I would like to see greater variety of papers linking coverage of religion and science in the press. For instance, I could see papers discussing themes such as specific newspapers’ coverage of creationism and evolution teaching in the public schools and related legal materials, then and now.

Building on the idea of how religious media, secular and denominational cover multidisciplinary themes, papers could explore coverage of hospital-medical ethics decisions involving religious hospitals differ in large-city publications perhaps and smaller-town publications.

I would also like to see more theory-based papers, applying some of the traditional theories to the Internet, but also tying together some of the contemporary research with more historical newspaper- and magazine-based research. We have had some good papers recently on religion communities and reporting on the Web, but an idea (for those debating what to write on) would be to replicate historical studies on newspaper reporting and administer similar measures for Web audiences and see how those same theories would have to be adapted (or not).

Where do you see our group evolving in the next few years?

I liked the idea of the pre-conference the night before the general presentations started as a way of getting the group together at the beginning and building cohesiveness. It is also a chance to extend ourselves to new members and orient them to RMIG while encouraging them to explore the wide variety of offerings at the conference.

A note about the Media Diversity Forum

Submissions are welcome for the Media Diversity Forum, a project of the Louisiana State University Manship School of Mass Communication. Journal articles and other publications, news articles, research and surveys, events, conferences and conference papers, opportunities for fellowships and grants, videos and documentaries are all welcomed formats. For more information on the Media Diversity Forum, click here.

The Forum’s mission statement, from their website: “The Forum on Media Diversity is designed to serve inclusiveness by seeking resources, supporting research, stimulating dialogue, sponsoring programs and sharing techniques.”

Thanks for reading this issue of Religion Matters! Check back regularly for new posts and our forthcoming spring newsletter.

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