Thursday, March 25, 2010

Journalism and Faith

I can't help but feel that religion is extremely individual and personal for each human being. People interpret things in different ways. That's probably why I sometimes cringe at news stories or articles based on religion. Yes, I feel it imperative that we learn of others' faiths. But, I feel that the majority of stories have somewhat negative connotations. This is not anything foreign to the news community. Usually, if it bleeds it leads. Meaning, people watch the gruesome stories, the adulterous stories, the criminal stories. Maybe society would learn more about each religion if we did focus more on the good. I am not saying that all stories on differing religions need to be rainbows and butterflies. However, an informative piece here and there wouldn't hurt. I feel that this article here in TIME magazine does a good job of covering the facts of Mormonism - and when they insert opinions they make it clear they are just opinions. I think learning is so much better than bashing one's religion.
"Many people about whom journalists write are inspired by their faith and use their faith in dealing with the challenges and tragedies that they face," (Mind, 81). This reminds me of a recent story covered by KSL and Entertainment Tonight among others. Marie Osmond's son committed suicide this past month and the funeral was held in Provo. President Monson spoke at the funeral and his words were directed to the family. Reporters were there. Cameras were not allowed inside. KSL's religion & arts reporter, Carole Mikita, attended the funeral and then reported on it that day. I thought she did a great job showing how the family's faith got them through their loss. She didn't go into little details and the story was not focused on the suicide, but on the service. I think this story is what most should aim for when dealing with similar situations.
I also feel that a piece of our conscience will be in all of our stories. We have discussed in previous class periods how we cannot fully check our biases at the door when covering a story. Religion is no execption. Personally, I am not one who is dying to read the latest religion piece, honestly, I find them somewhat dull. I agree with what was said in class: Religion is a hard-to sell story. Journalists only like to talk about things they can prove. Our job description is based on finding and reporting the facts. Therefore, it's hard to tell of things people say they know from a higher source.
I thought the statistic shared in class that 81% of Americans said that prayer was an important part of their lives was a little surprising. From personal experience, I feel that I would not have chosen this major without some divine intervention. I feel that in a medium that has taken such a hard hit in recent years, journalism needs good, honest people in the industry. I can't help but feel that I am supposed to meet people from different backgrounds through this career. I know I would not be here if it weren't for my Heavenly Father putting people and various opportunities in my life to get me this far. In one way or another, He has helped me in each story.
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