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Promoting your work

How can a religion writer get more religion news stories into the paper or on air? By Michael Paulson The Boston Globe* In my experience, editors are always hungry for good stories about any subject, and religion is no exception. To get more religion stories into the paper, apply the same rigorous reporting and writing […]

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Smith

Working the beat

Do religion writers always write stories for religious holidays? New clergy? Anniversaries? By Melanie Smith The Decatur Daily The routine events of religious life are a challenge to the religion reporter. Is there anything newsworthy about another Easter or Rosh Hashanah or Ramadan? Do readers want to know how their neighbors observe Lent or Divali? […]

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Scheinin

Trends and ethics stories

Many religion reporters also write about spiritual movements and ethical concerns. What sorts of stories like that should a religion writer do? By Richard Scheinin San Jose Mercury News To write stories about spiritual movements, look for the telltale “signs” of religion-the quest for transcendence we hear so much about these days, the attempt to […]

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Goodstein

Resources

Which resources are essential for a religion writer to own? By Laurie Goodstein The New York Times Speak softly and carry a long letter opener. You’re going to need it. Being on the religion beat means being snowed under by mail, magazines, public relations paraphernalia and books. The challenge is to make sure you’re reading […]

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Weiss

Demographics

What role should religious demographics play and what are the best sources for such demographics? By Jeffrey Weiss The Dallas Morning News To answer this question, you need to start by considering two others: What do my readers want to know? What do they need to know? What do they want to know? Most people […]

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Hogan-Albach

Different truths

It seems religion writers deal more in theory than fact. How does a good reporter write an accurate story when people’s understanding of truth differs? By Susan Hogan/Albach The Dallas Morning News* Never take at face value that anyone has the truth about Scripture. Most religious traditions disagree over how to interpret sacred texts. Just […]

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Perkes

Ethnic minorities

What special issues and concerns do religion writers keep in mind when writing about the religions of ethnic minorities? By Kim Sue Lia Perkes Freelance Writer A quick review of the most recent U.S. Census shows how much the demographics of the United States have changed. Whereas white Americans were once the nation’s majority, the […]

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Rifkin

Cultural differences

How do religion writers cope with organizational, stylistic and cultural differences in the people they write about? By Ira Rifkin Freelance Writer My first experience with Messianic Jews occurred soon after I started on the religion beat. What I lacked in sensitivity at the time I made up for with arrogance. Messianic Judaism offended my […]

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Perkes

Balance & fairness

Do religion reporters face issues of balance and fairness that are different from other beats? By Kim Sue Lia Perkes Freelance Writer For religion reporters, the issue of balance is often more complicated than other beats because stories that deal with theology are about beliefs and not proven facts. So how does one discern what […]

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