At a religious freedom conference in Utah, a diverse panel explores how to get news media coverage right


A diverse panel of journalists and attorneys — including GetReligion editor Terry Mattingly and myself — just wrapped up a panel discussion on "Getting It Right, Media Coverage of Religion Freedom."

The 90-minute exchange occurred at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, as part of the Religious Freedom Annual Review. BYU's International Center for Law and Religion Studies hosts the event each year. 

You can watch the entire discussion via the Facebook Live feed embedded above.

Hannah Clayson Smith, senior fellow at BYU's International Center for Law and Religion Studies, moderated the panel. 

Besides tmatt and me, other panelists included:

• Sahar Aziz, professor of law and Chancellor’s Social Justice Scholar at the Center for Security, Race at Rights at Rutgers University Law School.

• Emma Green, staff writer covering politics, policy and religion at The Atlantic.

• Holly Hollman, general counsel and associate executive director for the Baptist Joint Committee.

Earlier today, Green gave an excellent keynote address on the legal and political landscape of religious liberty. I don't see that talk online yet, but if I come across it, I'll add a link.

On a lighter note, I loved Green's response when asked about the polarization caused by social media:

Green, one of my favorite religion journalists, had what she characterized as a "starstruck moment" in joining tmatt on the media coverage panel.

She described him as "the Godfather of all religion reporting and religion news." Henceforth, that is how all of us who contribute to GetReligion shall refer to him.

At an earlier session, tmatt got an equally rousing welcome from fans of his syndicated column and GetReligion work when he presented a session on "The Seven Deadly Sins of the Religion Beat."

In case you're curious, these are the sins (minus the helpful context and analysis that tmatt gave in explaining them):

And a bonus tip from tmatt:

Speaking of GetReligion contributors, Smith opened the panel discussion by referring to a recent Wall Street Journal "Houses of Worship" column headlined "It's Hard to Find God on the Front Page." GetReligion's own Julia Duin wrote that piece.

For videos of some of the other sessions, check out the host center's Facebook page. 

If you watch the panel discussion on media coverage, please don't hesitate to ask follow-up questions in the comments section below.

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