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SPJ Madison announces major national conference: Reporting on Religion — Media, Belief and Pub

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Mark Pitsch, 608-252-6145

MADISON, WI — Religious faith remains a key component of public and private life in the United States. Yet, America’s religious landscape is shifting, and as a result news coverage of religion has never been more important.

The Madison chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions at UW-Madison, the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and the Stephen & Laurel Brown Foundation invite you to a major national conference on journalism and religion.

“Reporting on Religion: Media, Belief and Public Life” will give journalists an opportunity to explore one of the most important, sensitive and controversial topics in contemporary America.

The one-day conference – held Monday, March 14, 2016, in Madison WI — will feature journalists and scholars who will help journalists and students gain a deeper understanding of the role religion plays in public life, how religion is represented – or not – in the news media today, and how to improve reporting of this important subject. The conference will culminate in a keynote address, open to the public, by television journalist David Gregory, the author of “How’s Your Faith? An Unlikely Spiritual Journey” and the former moderator of Meet the Press.

Registration is now open. Click here for the conference website, and to register.

Follow us on Twitter @reportreligion.

The conference lineup includes sessions on:

  1. “America’s Changing Religious Landscape.” Besheer Mohamed, senior researcher for the Pew Center on Religion and Public Life, will present Pew’s groundbreaking research on religion in America. Cathy Lynn Grossman, senior reporter, Religion News Service, will comment.

  2. “How the Press Covers Religion and Spirituality” with Grossman, James Davis, contributor to GetReligion.org and The Florida Catholic, Chuck Stokes, editorial/public affairs director, WXYZ-TV, Detroit, and Jaweed Kaleem, senior religion reporter, Huffington Post.

  3. Some of the hottest issues surrounding religion and public life in the U.S., including the conservative and liberal divide in Catholicism and other Christian faiths, fast-growing U.S. religions, and religious extremism. With Doug Erickson, religion and education reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal, Bob Smietana, news editor, Christianity Today, and Dilshad Ali, managing editor, Patheos Muslim Portal.

  4. “A Journey Through New York City Religions” with Tony Carnes. Carnes has documented religion in the nation’s largest city for the last five years.

  5. “Religious Freedom and Freedom of Conscience,” a wide-ranging discussion featuring religious advocates, with a response from David Gregory, former moderator, Meet the Press.

More information about the conference lineup, the conference organizers and logistical details can be found here.

The conference is generously underwritten by the Lubar Institute and the Stephen & Laurel Brown Foundation, creators of Upper|House. It will be held at Upper|House, 365 East Campus Mall, adjacent to UW-Madison’s Vilas Hall.

Patron sponsors include the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, the Wisconsin State Journal and WKOW-TV. The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism is a supporting sponsor.

Registration includes lunch and is free for students, $15 for SPJ members, and $30 for non-SPJ members. The conference is aimed at journalists, but is open to the general public. ###

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