The UK's Religion Media Centre was established in 2017 as a direct result of conversations held at our conference on ‘Religion and the News’ in October 2009.
This conference identified a pressing need for greater scrutiny and coherence in the way that religious issues are reported in the media.
Research and publication
Three years on, in 2012, Religion and the News was published, featuring contributions from many of the speaker-delegates.
Edited by our then Programme Director, Dr Owen Gower, and the former BBC World Service producer and journalist, Professor Jolyon Mitchell, this book was supported by the Rayne Trust, the Centre for Theology and Public Issues (CTPI), the University of Edinburgh and the Binks Trust.
A new organisation
The project ultimately led to the establishment of the Religion Media Centre, an impartial body that aims to enhance the religious literacy of journalists and media professionals, to ensure a more balanced and representative coverage of issues in the national news agenda.
Today, the Religion Media Centre is helping to brief journalists by providing contextual information to topical issues, suggestions for representative interviewees, and access to relevant academic studies. It is also advising screenwriters and directors, and providing media training for religious leaders and religious literacy training for journalists from non-specialist backgrounds. Its funding is drawn from a broad base, reflecting Britain’s religious diversity.
This important work is part of a wider cultural change in the media, which is already having a positive impact on the way that religious matters are reported and understood today.
An ongoing collaboration
In 2020, we are renewing our connections with the Religion Media Centre by working in partnership, together with the Centre for Theology and Public Issues at the University of Edinburgh, to launch a new annual Media & Public Culture Forum for the UK.
Details of our inaugural event in this series can be found here.