Reporting refugees

The theory and practice of developing journalistic religious literacy

Authored by: Jolyon Mitchell , Sara Afshari

The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Journalism

Print publication date:  October  2020
Online publication date:  October  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138304963
eBook ISBN: 9780203731420
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter considers the importance of journalists becoming more religiously literate, while also reflecting on how this could improve coverage of the refugee crisis. Two introductory examples are used to raise questions regarding how stories about refugees are covered and responded to, as well as the religious and ethical implications of such coverage. The authors consider: What prevented many journalists from including the voices of the refugees and migrants in their stories? Why were their religious traditions, beliefs and practices commonly represented so superficially or negatively? How should the part played by religion in the refugee crisis be covered? The core of the chapter is structured around three themes: First, a case for developing literacy among journalists is developed and is followed; second, obstacles to religious literacy are reflected and third, ways of overcoming these obstacles are considered. The conclusion goes beyond summarizing the argument to consider the implications not only for digital journalists but also for digital audiences.

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