I recently completed another course from Poynter’s News University, this course is entitled “Religion, Culture, & Society: Getting Beyond the Cliches.” From this course, I learned how to write about certain situations when religion is involved. I also learned that sometimes you need to keep digging through a story to get to the religious angle. A story may not seem all that religious from the outside, but as you find out more imformation about the key elements, it may turn out to be surprisingly so. This course offers a few topics to ask questions on to “unearth the religious angle,” in your story. Questions having to do with references, stereotypes, faith, motivation, everyday perspective, literal or spiritual concerns, aspects of individual v. community, or cultural influences. In this way, you might find that you can make a statement about religion in a story that has to do with something that seems unrelated to religion, or vise versa.
I would definitely recommend this course to other Journalism/Public Relations students at Southeastern University. In going to a Christian University, we all get caught up in the “spiritual bubble” that Southeastern offers us, and sometimes forget that there is a real world out there filled with jobs that have absolutely nothing to do with our faith. Of course, we carry our faith with us daily and hopefully always display it to others through our actions, but at the same time we all may not be fortunate enough to work at a Christian magazine, newspaper, or Public Relations organization. We need to learn how to approach topics that have to deal with faith and religion from an objective point-of-view in order to keep our jobs. Of course, this may interfere with our ethics at times and hopefully we will make the right choices, but I think that we need someone from the outside looking in to teach us about these kinds of topics.