Faith in the Story
In reporting religion, media professionals balance commitment to their stories with challenges of their markets. Similarly, faith leaders can find themselves caught between the prophetic and the practical aspects of their work. Academic scholars of religion strive to create new knowledge about religions that is responsible to scholarly and religious communities alike. Finally, an American public is also hungry for more and better quality media coverage of religion in public affairs. Despite their political and religious disagreements, these parties all agree on wanting more diverse and more accurate representations of religion available to the public sphere. How and why are we all still falling short of the mark?
Faith in the Story: Trialogues for Enhancing Religious Literacy, a multi-year series of workshops from the Ansari Institute, will bring media professionals, faith leaders, and scholars of religion to work together and identify solutions to these problems. By sharing knowledge about how their unique respective professions work with religions, we hope to facilitate expert collaborations that will benefit both the professions and the public. By divulging honestly about our differences in approach and the realities of our careers, we can build a neutral forum for reflection, empathy, and constructive engagement. “Faith in the Story” refers at once to each profession’s respective commitment to truth-telling, and our shared conviction that our national conversation requires sophisticated, multiperspectival explorations of religion.
Our first of three trialogues—convening five media professionals, five academic scholars of religion, and five faith leaders—will be held over a three-day workshop in June 2021. Two further trialogues will take place in the fall of 2021 and the summer of 2022 respectively, and a conference among select participants in the summer of 2023. The end result is to build partnerships between academics, media professionals, and faith practitioners to change the conversation about religion through more nuanced coverage in the media, more informed preaching from the pulpit, and more effective teaching in the classroom.
Faith in the Story is supported by a generous grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations and presented in partnership with the University of Notre Dame’s John W. Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy.