This week’s reading was Doug Underwood’s chapter “I Will Show You My Faith by What I do”: A Survey of the Religious Beliefs of Journalists’ Faith Put into Action, in From Yahweh to Yahoo (2002, 130). This survey provides some solid evidence that journalists are sympathetic towards religious values (Underwood 2002, 147); however, it seemed to me that the framing of the questions within the survey maintained a very heavy bias towards Christian religion. The only overtly religious terminology used in the survey questions provided in the chapter included worlds like ‘Jesus’, ‘God’, ‘Church’, ‘Christ’ and ‘Lord’.
Although the idea that some journalists may not identify with the Jewish or Christian traditions is introduced and supposedly investigated (Underwood 2002, 137), I saw very little evidence of this in the examples of survey questions given.
One claim by the authors is as follows: ‘One might go so far as to say that journalists share the same belief in the social justice values of the bible and the importance of putting belief into practice, regardless of their own personal religiosity (Underwood 2002, 147).’ Evidence for this claim is strong in the survey results, yet the types of language used in the questions seem to predict a Judeo-Christian flavour to values which result in journalistic practices. Values and moral codes found within other religions, which might lead to similar actions (for example a Buddhist expression of compassion) are not mentioned.
This survey does achieve what it sets out to do and gives some very interesting data for journalist’s religious beliefs. Yet it approaches the idea of religion from a very heavy Judeo-Christian bias, resulting in what I would regard as a limited context. In a climate of growing international migration and multiculturalism, surely it’s time multiple concepts of religious values should be included in surveys such as this.
Underwood, D. 2002. “I Will Show You My Faith by What I do”: A Survey of the Religious Beliefs of Journalists’ Faith Put into Action, in From Yahweh to Yahoo, 130-147. USA: University of Illinois
Shaw, S. 2013. In class lecture