Country for PR: United States
Contributor: PR Newswire New York
Tuesday, September 20 2022 - 21:00
Largest-ever global study reveals high consumer demand for more news on religion and faith, along with roadblocks among journalists and editors
NEW YORK, Sept. 20, 2022 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

The largest-ever Global Faith and Media Study is 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 

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

    -- 63% of people globally said that high -quality content on faith and 
       religion is needed in their respective countries.
    -- 53% of people globally believe that the media coverage actively
       ignores religion as an aspect of society and culture today.
    -- 59% of people globally think that it is important that the news
       media coverage reflect a diverse set of religious perspectives
       in their content and reporting.
    -- 56% of people globally agree that there should be more nuanced
       coverage of complex religious issues.

Religious stereotypes are a concern globally in relation to faith and religious 

    -- 61% of people globally said that media coverage often perpetuates
       faith-based stereotypes rather than addresses and protects against them.
    -- 53% of people globally think that religious stereotypes should get
       the same level of attention as other stereotype issues in the media.

More varied spokespeople are needed to represent faith and religion in media 

    -- More than 80% of people globally feel that faith and religious groups
       need to provide the media with greater variety of spokespeople.
    -- Journalists and editors admit there is an issue with religious
       stereotyping in media coverage and noted that the lack of varied
       media sources and spokespeople for faith organizations is a significant
       issue that they believe perpetuates the problem.

Media agree that editorial coverage on faith and religion has become more 

    -- The Global Faith and Media Study uncovers the complex set of factors
       that have influenced the way faith and religion is covered in the
       media, based on direct interviews with journalists.
    -- Media respondents universally described a continued marginalization
       of media coverage on faith and religion and cited many influencing
       factors giving rise to increasingly unbalanced reporting:
      -- Newsroom Economics: Media respondents reported on squeezed budgets
         leading to a lack of specialist journalists in newsrooms. They cited
         a "hollowing" out of specialisms within the news teams leaving 
         generalists to cover topics, including faith and religion.
      -- Fear of Getting It Wrong: Media described a general "fear" in the
         newsroom around covering religion. In an era defined by some as a
         time when religion has become increasingly politicized, news
         coverage – often at speed – brings with it the tacit acceptance
         that it is impossible to cover the topic with a level of nuance and
         sensitivity given the time and resources available.
      -- Diversity and Newsrooms Dynamics: Media respondents in all regions 
         noted that the newsroom teams rarely represent the plurality of 
         religious views in society, which causes self-limiting in exploring
         the faith agenda. Among journalists with a strong faith background,
         a feeling exists that they might be negatively judged if they
         covered stories relating to their faith or religion due to a concern
         it would raise questions about their impartiality and risk damaging 
         their reputations in the newsroom.
      -- Clicks for Controversy: A consensus exists among media respondents
         that faith and religion are not seen as drivers for reader engagement.
         Editors rarely encourage stories in this area unless they correspond
         to a narrative of controversy, dissent or scandal. This runs counter
         to the 63% of people globally who said that high-quality content on
         faith and religion is needed in their respective countries.
      -- Lack of Spokespeople Compounding Religious Stereotyping: Stereotyping
         was identified by media respondents as an issue, with a lack of
         variety of sources and spokespeople for faith and religious groups 
         noted as a significant issue that perpetuates the problem. Many media 
         say religion is most frequently positioned as a conservative or
         extreme force in editorial coverage and suggested that this drives
         the tendency to seek out outspoken spokespeople versus those who are 
         middle-ground more mainstream.

"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,"

You can follow the conversation for FAMI at: Twitter ( 
), Facebook ( 
), Instagram ( 
), #faithandmedia, #FAMI and for HarrisX: Twitter ( 
) and LinkedIn ( 

For media inquiries, please contact:

Perri Dorset, Rakhee Rathod and Leila Hrycyszyn on:

Corinne Gorda on:

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 

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 ( 

About HarrisX
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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