Even right after Sept. 11, religion reporters and other observers were noting that religion coverage was being curtailed by newspapers, often for financial reasons.
But in the long run, the events of September 11 seem to have reignited the determination to improve and expand religion coverage, reports David Shaw in the Los Angeles Times (Feb. 23). One example Shaw cites is the San Antonio Express-News, whose editor Robert Rivard wrote that “In the wake of September 11, we have learned once again that religion and faith can be powerful forces of conflict as well as communion.”
The paper has expanded its coverage to include Islam and other issues involving religions around the world. There is also a continuing growth of educational and research institutions involving religion and the media The Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California recently established an endowed chair in media and religion with a $1.5 million grant from the James L. Knight Foundation.
More ambitious is New York University’s new Center for Religion and the Media. Funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the center will conduct research and run a Website on the interaction of religion, the media and public life.