01: The entire issue of the Review of Religious Research (December) is devoted to analyzing how the media portrays new religious movements.
Most of the scholars contributing to the issue are strongly critical of such coverage. In an opening essay, Stuart Wright of Lamar University asserts that the focus on abuse by leaders of new religious movements is the overriding image presented by the media on this subject. He asks how the “intents, beliefs and actions of diverse collectivities of groups representing a multitude of sundry religious traditions” can so easily “be reduced to a facile storyline or imbecilic made-for-TV movie.” John Dart of the Los Angeles Times, writes that the media’s focus on controversy and conflict, poor knowledge of religion among journalists, and a communications gap between reporters and social scientists, are more responsible for shallow coverage rather than any ingrained bias against NRMs.
For more information on this issue, write: Review of Religious Research, 108 Marist Hall, Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. 20064.
02: Those looking for updated research sources may benefit from a new web search engine produced by Calvin College, a Christian liberal arts school in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Known as “AlphaSearch” it directs users to topical gateway sites developed by scholars around the world. These gateway sites compile links to the best sites for each category. It has earned USA Today’s “Hot Sites of the Day” award.
The site can be contacted at: http://www.Calvin.edu/Lib_Resources/as.
— By Erling Jorstad