Issues of Definitions, Standards and Accuracy with Reference to the Role of Specialist Journalists and Public Intellectuals in the Contemporary British Media: The first event in this research project will be a seminar funded by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. It will be held on 26 March, 2010, between 10.30pm-5pm, and at the Department of Journalism Studies. Participants will include journalists and academics, including Ward Blanton, Douglas Davies, Riazat Butt, and Ruth Gledhill.
“Reporting Religion” is a research project jointly run by Prof. Jackie Harrison (Journalism Studies) and Dr James Crossley (Biblical Studies). Religion has been a high profile media topic, from the “war on terror” through to the sensitivities surrounding Islam and Muslims in British society. However, despite the prominence of overtly “religious” topics, the regulatory definitions of what “religion” actually is remain extremely vague, thus leaving a potentially wide scope for the construction and portrayal of religion by journalists, programme producers/makers and selected public intellectuals. The “Reporting Religion” project proposes to explore the ways in which the concept “religion” is assumed and/or constructed in the contemporary British media specifically how specific religions and religious texts are privileged, undermined and/or ignored. This will also involve an examination of the relationship between journalism and public intellectuals with regard to factual reporting, populism, and opinion-formation. This project will also investigate the possibilities of more “unconscious” censoring or constructing of what can and cannot be said and done with religious issues and analyse whether contemporary British media representations are (and in what way) part of wider cultural and political trends.