It was just yesterday that readers were complaining that I was too hard on a New York Times contributor for her piece expressing surprise that Christians can be funny. But usually I think I'm too understanding of the mistakes reporters make. Some wise but unnamed scribe over at the "unholy monster" The Revealer -- another religion and media site -- wrote about the challenge of doing effective media criticism when, due to proximity or disposition, you're just too deferential. I completely sympathize. And I'm resolving to sharpen my fangs and go for blood!
The Revealer directs readers to a new media criticism site run by the well-funded Knight Chair in Media and Religion. As voracious consumers of media criticism, readers of GetReligion should wander on over and sniff around.
Diane Winston, who runs the site, has reported for the Baltimore Sun, Dallas Morning News, Dallas Times Herald and The News and Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is the author of a few books dealing with religion and has directed religion and media projects at New York University and Northwestern University. And she has lots of fancy book learning in religion, too. She hopes to help round out journalists' coverage of politics, science and sex by encouraging understanding of how religion shapes stories. She explains her site's niche this way:
There are already a growing number of websites and blogs that look at religion reporting and we hope to add to the good work they do by specifically focusing on resources for non-religion reporters (as well as those who cover the beat) and for journalism educators.
Be sure to let her know if you have good ideas for resources. But back to The Revealer's endorsement of the site:
Religion and media isn't about ethics! It's about smackdowns.
Well, not really. It's not about ethics or smackdowns -- it's about smart, informed analysis from a woman who's worked in some of the nation's most prestigious newsrooms, taken a Ph.D. in American religious history from Princeton, published with Harvard University Press, and left it all behind to train up an even better generation of religion writers. Read Knight Chair.
I hope it can be about ethics, smackdowns and smart, informed analysis. Either way, a hearty welcome to the Knight Chair in Media and Religion.