Given the nature of both the topic and the media, if religion is covered as news, the bad stuff will predominate; if it appears as features, the good side gets a chance to show, says Martin E. Marty. He illustrates his point with reference to Southern Baptists in the USA.
After more than two years working for an aid agency you would have thought I’d be used to bad news. But, do you know, the emphasis of CAFOD’s work is about the solution – the good stuff that can and will be done to make difficult situations better, to push against injustice, to offer people the tools to get themselves and their families further away from the red lines of poverty and abuse.
The arrogance of large media companies in the face of calls for fairness and accountability besmirches the reputation of good journalism - and I say that as someone who has been in the business on-and-off (mostly 'on'!) for nearly 30 years.
Eighty years ago, the conflict in Libya would have been glossed over as a “quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing”. In an age of 24 hour news and of media conscious politicians, we are saturated with images, comment and spin. It is essential to be vigilant about the relationship between the authorised version, what its presentation really tells us and – not least – our own responses to it.