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Blessed be the educated journalist: Reflections on a religious literacy gap in the field of journalism


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Religion has ‘returned’ to news discourses, since 9/11, with a focus on Muslims and Islam and more recently on Catholicism (in the wake of paedophile priest scandals) and anti-Semitism (with the rise of the far-right movements). These news discourses, however, tend to adopt limited perspectives, and do not reflect the diversity of practices and viewpoints within these religious traditions. As Australia becomes increasingly ‘superdiverse’, there is a greater need for the inclusivity of cultural perspectives of these religions. Current research findings show that religious literacy among media practitioners in Australia is not only limited to specific notions about a small number of religions, it is exacerbated by an Anglo-Celtic dominance in the media workforce. This article suggests that for news media to provide a more culturally and religiously inclusive public service to promote societal understanding, current and emerging journalists require a more reflexive understanding of religions, through journalism studies and humanities more broadly, and how they have historically shaped the world, and continue to do so.

Keywords: education; humanities; journalism education; media representation; mediatization of religion; religious literacy; superdiversity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: 0000000105267079Deakin University 2: 0000000121633550RMIT University

Publication date: June 1, 2021

More about this publication?
  • Australian Journalism Review publishes articles on a broad range of perspectives relating to journalism research, practice and education. Its emphasis is on original theoretical, empirical and applied research, but it also provides opportunities to canvass perspectives on current debates on research, practice and education through commentary pieces on specific topics.

    This double-blind peer-reviewed journal is published twice annually, with the second edition each year focused primarily on a theme and supplemented by a small selection of broader-ranging papers.

    Prospective guest editor submissions on themes for future editions are always welcome. While many of Australian Journalism Review's submitting authors are based within the Australia-Pacific region, the journal welcomes scholarship from around the world and extending into broader media and communication topics of relevance to journalism.

    The journal incorporates a regular section highlighting the work of early career researchers, particularly current or recent higher degree by research students, as well as book reviews focusing on recent additions to the journalism, media and communications publishing landscape.

    AJR is the journal of the Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia.

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