In this discussion about The Philadelphia Inquirer's less-than-stellar article on female ordination, reader Larry Rasczak notes similarities between the way the media have traditionally covered the military and the way they handle religion. It leads him to make a suggestion:
That being said, I heard nothing but good things about the CENTCOM "embedded reporter" program. The media liked it, the military thought it was a great sucess. It seemed to work all around. The problem wasn't that the media couldn't tell a story, it was simply that ALL they had ever learned in J school was HOW to tell the story. This meant they knew far less about the military than they thought they did, and therefore often got the story just plain wrong. Once they learned how things really worked the accuracy of their stories improved greatly, and everyone was happier.
So here is a serious proposal. How could one go about "embedding" reporters in churches, so they actually know a little about the subjects they are reporting on?
My news organization has had numerous embeds, both photographers and reporters. There are many ethical questions about such close relationships to subjects of coverage, but I actually think there is something to this.
If big newspapers or media organizations could embed reporters in traditional religious communities, I'm sure their stories would have less of that "look at these crazy people we found who believe these crazy things" patina.
So, any suggestions?