The largest-ever Global Faith and Media Study launched today, looking at the portrayal of faith and religion in the media. It reveals a strong demand across the world for more news media coverage on faith, despite the reality that journalists and editors admit coverage of the topics is rarely encouraged in newsrooms.
The study captures the views of 9,000 global citizens as well as journalists and editors in 18 countries covering the world's major religions. The research was commissioned by the Faith and Media Initiative (FAMI) and conducted by global market research company HarrisX.
The study reflects the feeling among the general population that media coverage can perpetuate faith-related stereotypes rather than protect against them. It also lays out some of the factors that journalists and editors think can lead to religious and faith stereotypes in news coverage.
The study also signals universal recognition among journalists and editors that coverage of faith and religion needs a reset. It captures detailed insights about the complex set of factors that have created the current status quo affecting editorial coverage.
"The data reveals that faith and religion are a core element of personal identity globally, with 82% of respondents viewing themselves as faithful, religious or spiritual," said Dritan Nesho, CEO of HarrisX. "Yet the journalists with whom we spoke to believe that faith and religious coverage are becoming increasingly marginalized due to everything from newsroom economics to fears of 'getting it wrong'.
"Ultimately, the research points to a clear global deficit in coverage, treatment and quality of understanding of faith and religion in modern media," Nesho added.
Key insights from the Global Faith and Media Study include:
People globally see the need for better representation of faith and religion in the media:
Religious stereotypes are a concern globally in relation to faith and religious coverage:
More varied spokespeople are needed to represent faith and religion in media coverage:
Media agree that editorial coverage on faith and religion has become more marginalized:
"This ground-breaking global study on the attitudes of people, journalists and editors toward coverage of faith and religion in media will be used as a springboard for positive change," said Brooke Zaugg, vice president of The Faith and Media Initiative. "These new findings shine a light on the urgent need to offer faith leaders improved access to the power and reach of the news media, and media a direct line to faith leaders for enhanced understanding of beliefs in the context of modern society. By joining forces, we can better serve humanity by ensuring a more accurate, balanced representation of all faiths in journalism and entertainment worldwide."
About the Global Faith and Media Study:
The Global Faith and Media Study represents the views of 9,489 quantitative interviews between August and September 2022. Surveys were carried out across 18 countries globally, with regions selected to cover the world's major religions in North America, Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. In addition, views of the news media were gathered through 30 in-depth qualitative interviews with journalists and editors across the same geographic footprint. To download the report, please visit: http://index.faithandmedia.com/data
The study is the first flagship insights report available from The Faith and Media Index, a new platform launched by The Faith and Media Initiative, which will partner with the world's most respected institutions to build a robust platform of research and data. The Index will include original insights on the global landscape of faith and media, early identification of trends and opportunities for collaboration, as well as a robust data resource for journalists, editors and content creators. The first issue of The Global Faith and Media Study was funded, in part, by a grant from the Radiant Foundation.
About The Faith and Media Initiative:
The Faith and Media Initiative (FAMI) is a non-profit that connects and provides resources to a global, diverse network of media members, content creators, faith leaders and community members working together to ensure accurate, balanced representation of all faiths in entertainment and journalism. The work to date has been driven by an exploratory task force, including diverse experts from faith, media, academia and business. The task force is committed to building strategies for change — from coalition building, fluency training, research and recognition of individuals and businesses leading the way. More information about the Faith and Media Initiative is available here.
HarrisX is a leading global research consultancy that conducts major market research, public policy polling and social science studies in more than 40 countries around the world. It is part of Stagwell Global and the sister company of the Harris Poll, which has conducted public release polling internationally since 1963.
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