Covering Religion is a two-year research project that meets key goals necessary for the further development of the emerging discipline of media and religion. First, the project aims to train a cohort of religion-sensitive journalists by dispatching recent graduates to conduct research at the Global Centers in Amman and Mumbai. Second, it brings together the work of journalists and academics who study at the intersection of religion and media through fieldwork conducted by the fellows and the faculty investigators. This will fill lacunae in the scholarly corpus on covering religion globally.
The project builds on Professor Goldman’s teaching over the last 21 years in his “Covering Religion” seminar at the Graduate School of Journalism. Professor Goldman annually takes students on study and reporting tours to places where religion plays a vital role in society, including Israel, Jordan, Palestine, Russia, Ukraine, India, Ireland and Italy (www.covering religion.org). The trips are supported by a generous grant from the Scripps Howard Foundation.
The new project would leverage the seminar trips by adding an equally critical academic facet. There would be a post-graduate fellowship each year that would enable two fellows to spend a period of 30 days at a Global Center (either Amman or Mumbai) to conduct research in that region under the supervision of Professor Goldman and the Associate Investigator, Yogi Trivedi. Both the P.I. and the A.I. have extensive travel, teaching and fieldwork experience in the two regions. The fellows would pursue their journalistic investigations while exploring how religion is covered in different local media outlets. In doing this research, they would draw on the training that they received at Columbia and specifically in the “Covering Religion” seminar.
The P.I. and the A.I. would oversee this work and use the students’ experiences as case studies for their own research into religion and media. At the end of the two-year grant period, the investigators would pull together all the research, publish their findings and share them at a workshop at Columbia.
This project paves the way for a more extensive and permanent collaboration between the Journalism School and Global Centers, one in which the investigators would hold an international conference on religion and media and perhaps create a permanent center to study religion and media at Columbia.