The Religion Media Centre is thrilled to announce another round of ‘Creating Connections’ between the media and faith groups.
Our Creating Connections series in 2021 was a resounding success, with more than 90 per cent of attendees saying their view of the media was enhanced and they had a new appreciation of the religious landscape of their area.
Now thanks to generous funding from Culham St Gabriel’s Trust and The Rank Foundation, we can announce our next round of Creating Connections, to take place over this academic year. This time we are offering the opportunity to bid for your city to be included in our planning – just fill out the form before the 1st of September here >>
Our networking events bring together local journalists, representatives from religious groups, religious education teachers, academics, civic leaders and interested parties, united in the aim of forging greater understanding and inclusion in their cities.
Our first series in 2021 took us to Leeds, Plymouth, Nottingham, Birmingham and Manchester, with 97 per cent of attendees said it improved their confidence in approaching the media, 95 per cent of the local media said it improved their view of religion, and 86 per cent of the RE teachers and academics said the event had improved their idea of the media overall.
Media panels explained how their news desks worked, what kind of stories they were interested in and how to contact them. In each city they said that people with stories re pushing an open door and appealed for people to contact them.
It became clear that relationships between religious individuals or organisations and the media are often non-existent outside large denominations with funds for public relations advice. Several attendees admitted that they had never met a journalist before.
The intention was to raise understanding between religious groups and the media, exploring new stories and breaking down misunderstanding.
Religious groups explained that sometimes they fear how the media will report a story and are convinced of bias against them. Sometimes their faith taught them not to expect any return for their good work, so they remained silent.
But editors said it was in journalists’ interests to build trust and acknowledged that the events showed them that there was a “wealth of stories out there”. The RE teachers and academics present explained how they could help with contacts and explain stories in the news.
The media panels included ITV regional news editors for diversity and inclusion, BBC news and managing editors, BBC local radio religious programme producers, editors and journalists from regional media groups and journalists turned PR professionals.
Local editors said it was really important to report communities well and reflect the voices of all in their cities. Christina Savvas, Senior Customer Editor of the West Midlands for Birmingham Live, said she was passionate about her job and “the people that make this community tick”.
To invite us to your city, please fill out this form by 1 September 2022