Religious people donate and volunteer more than their nonreligious neighbors. This has been established for years (yes, I'll show that in a moment), but professionals in the mainstream media don’t often pick up on it.
So it's a pleasure to read a news feature in The Orlando Sentinel -- which not only reports a new Pew Research Center study on the fact, but takes the reporting down to the level of real people and groups in its own circulation area.
Starting with a minister who pastors a church and serves dinner at a rescue mission, the article broadens into a trend story:
Echoing a new Pew Research Center study that found religious people are more apt to volunteer and make charitable donations than others, the Rescue Mission and other Central Florida charities say the faith community provides critical support in providing food, shelter and clothing for the needy.
In survey results released last month, 45 percent of highly religious people — those who said they pray daily and attend weekly services – reported they had volunteered in the past week. By comparison, only 28 percent of others indicated they'd volunteered over that time frame.
Sixty-five percent of the highly religious individuals said they had donated money, time or goods to the poor in the past week, compared with 41 percent of people who were defined as being less religious.
You could use the story in a journalism clinic on showing how national studies shed light on local trends.