Sharpen your pencils

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GREAT JOURNALISM USUALLY INVOLVES CONFLICT, TENSION AND CHANGE. Religion has all of these. Use them. Reporting about faith – whether for traditional or online media – offers wonderful opportunities for rich narratives, heart-rending storytelling and stories about personal transformation.

WRITE SIMPLY, BUT DON’T OVERSIMPLIFY. Religion involves rhetoric, complex jargon and language laden with thousands of years of debate. You must be accurate and attuned to nuance, but you also need to write in clear language that can be understood by both insiders and casual observers. Be aware that word choice can convey bias in ways you’re not aware of. Run paraphrasing and descriptions by sources to check your accuracy and understanding. Be careful when you say “Christians believe …” since beliefs vary widely within any faith.