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Faith in the workplace article.....

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Doom and gloom, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. Saw this while surfing....not to start a flame war, but there's some decent points here regardless of what side of the fence you are on.

  2. I don't get this part.
    "In the highly secular culture of American newsrooms, which are far more secular than society at large, what Christians often face is outright bigotry," asserts Aikman. How secular are these newsrooms? A classic 1980 study by Robert Lichter of the Center for Media and Public Affairs found that in the most influential newsrooms in the country, half of the 286 elite media people surveyed "eschewed any religious affiliation" and 86 percent seldom or never attended religious services.

    How does the relative church attendance of reporters vis a vis everyone else translate into facing "outright bigotry.."? How were the 286 people in question -- damn small sample, BTW -- determined to be "elite"?
    The most famous example of this that I can recall recently is Jack Kelley of USA Today who told people that, as a Christian, his faith informed the way he did his job, and then got caught making stuff up.
  3. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    It's not really something you are supposed to question. You either have faith or you don't.
  4. Bubbler

    Bubbler Active Member

    If you work in a secular job, than keep religion out of it. If that makes me a bigot, so be it.

    And incidentally, the one fervent Christian in our newsroom has absolutely no problem with this.
  5. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    I have never understood why you can't be a Christian and an American at the same time. Let me explain. While this country may have been founded by Christians and on Christian beliefs, we still have the freedom to choose. That being said, I do believe in God, but I also fervently believe in an American's right to choose their belief, without fear of influence.

    It's not easy to reconcile the two, but I do it successfully, I think, because as an American I have tolerance where as a Christian I might not.

    The same thing should be and could be said of journalists. We have to strive and endeavor to keep our personal life separated from our work. Our faith, should not play into our reporting skills. Our political beliefs or how we vote should not play into our reporting skills. If we graduated from college A and we're covering college B, we should be able to keep our loyalties out of it.

    When I'm reading a story by someone, I don't want to know or even care that they're a Christian or a Sunday school teacher or a devil worshipper. I want to read the damn story.

    Do some reporters fail to keep the two separate? Sure, but the same could be said for any career field out there, including politician. Did I keep the two separate? Absolutely, but that's all I can speak for.

    If the numbers in this story are accurate, it's not surprising to me. If I were consistently reporting religious issues, I'd probably eschew religion myself to help maintain objectivity. As a sports reporter, I stopped going to games if it wasn't related specifically to my job because I never wanted to be viewed as a fan of a particular team, especially if it's one I cover.

    It's a sacrifice I was willing to make.

    But bigotry in the newsroom because of religious beliefs? I question that, and I've certainly never seen it.
  6. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    I don't think the church attendance numbers were meant to show bigotry, just the secular nature of newsrooms. The bigotry is related in later paragraphs. And, while the sample isn't big, they do presidential polls with 3,000 people to determine the feelings of the nation. I'd be more concerned with the randomness of the sample. Later in the story, it does have a quote saying, "Comprehensive surveys of the religious commitments of journalists show that journalists are about as religious as the rest of the population by the standard measure of church attendance and affiliations."

    And Bubbler, I think the point in the article is that most Christian reporters do keep their religion out of it, but if you're a reporter and are a Christian, people question your motives for some stories. I could see that happening, and I could see a reporter's religion affecting the way he writes, in ways good and bad. Also, I think too often when we think of Christian, we think conservative. Their are progressive Christians out there working as reporters, too.

    But shouldn't the flip side of your argument also be true, Bubbler. If you are to "keep religion out" of work, shouldn't work also stay out of your religion outside of work. The story relates a news executive who was told to stop leading Bible studies on her own time. Isn't that crossing a line?

    Religion can give you an insight on some issues. I honestly would have trouble trusting a religion reporter who wasn't religious. It's like having a sports writer who isn't a sports fan. It's hard to offer insight into something if you don't understand it. And there's also the concern that many people I know who aren't religious are actually anti-religious.

    That said, I think some religion reporters are too comfortable only reporting the good stuff about their faith and don't ask the hard questions. There's a telling part of the story:

    I think it's far too easy to say, well, you can be a Christian but keep it out of the newsroom. It's not possible. If you're truly a Christian, it affects you down to the core. My beliefs, from general morality to politics (and, hey, I'm a liberal) are shaped by my religion. As a person quoted in the story points out, we wouldn't ask a political reporter or a copy editor reading election stories not to vote. We trust that they can do their jobs. But then we question a Christian. Why?
  7. Bubbler

    Bubbler Active Member

    Agree completely on that point.
  8. alleyallen

    alleyallen Guest

    Reporters and journalists are often in a lose-lose situation here. If we aren't religiious, many people are critical of us calling us godless liberals. But if we have faith and show it in public, we're criticized for not being objective.

    My response? Fuck 'em. Have your relationship with the deity of your choice and don't worry about what others say or think. And if your job tries to mess with you because of your faith, sue the crap out of them.
  9. Pastor

    Pastor Active Member

    It should be pointed out that this "article" was written in 1999. It calls upon statistics from before then. On top of this, you have the quote that Fenian used:
    So, an article written in '99 is using a study that is 20-years old. Throw in the following:
    "the most influential newsroons in the country" --> What are they? Who are they? By most influential are they referring to circulation or are they referring to the potential circulation?

    "elite media people" --> Defined as elite by whom?

    "286... surveyed" --> So, a small percentage of reporters from undisclosed locations surveyed are used to demonstrate bias 20-years after the survery.

    "86 percent seldom or never attended religious service" --> How, in 1980, was this statistic different than the general populace? Is it higher than the rest of the country? Is it lower than the rest of the country? How about the locations those "most influential newsrooms?"

    Look, if you want to have an honest discussion on the roll of religion in the newsroom have it. Just don't bring ridiculously bad "articles" written years ago into the discussion.
  10. Has anyone here experienced religious bigotry while working in the newsroom?
    I'd like to know, not to start a flame war, but to know whether or not this happens.
    (And by religious bigotry, I do not mean working at a place that editorialzes on a side of the issues which offends you.)
  11. What I have seen is slanted reporting on religion, shed by views of a person who loathed organized religion.

    What is often ignored in this "stand" people take is that I'd guess three-fourths of newsroom political reporters have a strong political persuasion, and half of those, at least, report from their own biases. All of us have our biases. So can we honestly say we always report a balanced story when those biases are confronteD?
  12. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Don't most newspapers still do religion stories in the features section once a week?

    My shop does. And to use a sports analogy, our religion writer is the biggest Christian homer I've seen. Nothing critical is ever written about the local churches. If a pastor is caught embezzling church funds, that's handled by the cops reporter while the religion reporter doesn't mention it.
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