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When Politics, Religion, and Journalism Collide

Monday, Oct. 1, 2012

A panel of experts focuses on the ethical issues that arise for journalists when religion is so prominent in the current presidential election, Thursday, Oct. 4, 3:45 - 5:30 p.m., in Bannan 142 (Note location change).  Participants include expert journalists, a visiting group of masters’ students from Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany, and SCU faculty.

According to the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, American journalists “believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues,” thus creating an informed public square.

Questions we will discuss: Should journalists incorporate cultural values in their coverage of the general election? Which values (and whose) should get prominence? Do journalists have a responsibility to reach beyond campaign platforms in order to provide the facts and perspectives that might stimulate broader discussion of issues such as contraception, same-sex marriage and immigration? What responsibility do journalists have, if any, to highlight “truthfulness” or the lack thereof? How should they define “truth” in this context? What is journalists’ responsibility to address stereotypes and fears regarding minority religions such as Islam, Mormonism, or Catholicism?

Participants include:

Gerardo Fernandez, Editor, Aliana Metropolitan News
Josh Richman, Bay Area News Group
Shirin Sadeghi, blogger and former producer for the BBC and Al Jazeera
Peter Erlenwein, sociopsychologist, journalist and author
Steven Saum, Editor, Santa Clara magazine
Ingrid Stapf, Assistant Professor, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
Students from Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg interdisciplinary masters program
Sally Lehrman, Knight-Ridder Professor of Communication, Santa Clara University
Paul Soukup, S.J., Associate Professor of Communication, Santa Clara University
Katharine Heintz, Media Analyst and Lecturer, Santa Clara University
Students from Santa Clara University, Introduction to Journalism and Media and Advocacy courses

Tags: journalism ethics, religion and ethics