The Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life is another non-profit organization with a hand in the education of religion journalists. The Pew Forum conducts in-depth research and analysis on religious trends nationally and internationally, and journalists are some of the biggest consumers of its information.
"Media education is absolutely central to what we do," said Luis Lugo, director of the Pew Forum. "We've always considered journalists to be a critical audience, if not the most critical, for a variety of reasons. It's not just that they need the kind of information we provide — a lot of other people do, too. It's the megaphone function they serve. We want to educate the public and get information to key leaders through the media."
Journalists value Pew Forum research, Lugo said, because it doesn't take sides on religious or political issues. And reporters are increasingly seeking out the Pew Forum for data and analysis of current events.
As reporters become better versed in religion and cover religion stories well, they become educators, says Columbia University's Goldman.
"They are someone who can raise the religious literacy of a newspaper's readers," he said. "You need people who can see the missing piece. And not everyone can. That's why I'm trying to do that work and teach people about religion, so that they cover these stories more intelligently and fully."
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