Call: 0121 472 8000 • email: admin@westhilltrust.com
Dear God...
“Hardly anyone can ever find God because God is right at the end of your mind after all the background thoughts are gone.”
Maisie Satchwell-Hust

Lapido Media
Championing Religious Literacy
in the Media

 
Celebrating our tenth anniversary in 2017, Lapido Media exists to champion religious literacy in the media.
 
Religious literacy is primarily about having a reliable working knowledge of different belief systems.  
 
Applied to media, better religious literacy means richer, more accurate stories with a religious dimension.  This doesn’t just concern a purely ‘religious' story, like covering Islamic terrorism or an international tour of the Pope.  It touches every journalistic area right through from general news reporting to niche coverage areas like food or the arts, celebrity or health.
 
For example, a sports reporter is set to interview a famous athlete.  Faith plays a part in her interviewee’s life, so it’s important for her to portray this aspect effectively, not to bypass or belittle it.  To do this requires the reporter to be aware of her own worldview and biases, and to have some background knowledge of the belief system in question.  Too often this is lacking among journalists because it is never taught or encouraged as a knowledge base at an early stage in their lives or careers.  Many journalists spot this gap and are working with us to develop relevant solutions.
 
At a broader level, journalists and the wider media can suffer from a major blind spot when it comes to understanding faith perspectives.  This kind of religious illiteracy tends to distort and reduce the credibility of the stories produced.  In addition it can marginalise or undermine religious communities and the spiritual capital they offer to wider society.
 
The problem with religious illiteracy in the media is that it doesn’t simply affect faith communities, it affects the public too.  They suffer a disconnect between the real, lived experiences of people of faith and the exaggerated stereotypes that the media consciously or unconsciously reflect.
 

 
Lapidomedia_anniversary_logo-blue
Take the UK as an example:  The outlook of over 65 million Brits toward their neighbours is shaped by a national journalistic workforce of only 84,000 people (according to figures from the Office for National Statistics).  If the media’s blind spot on religion is as serious as we believe it is, it becomes obvious how high a priority this challenge is to address.  Our social cohesion depends on our perceptions of one another, as does our confidence to freely examine, challenge and choose our beliefs.  As well as freedom of thought, this is an issue of freedom of religion and belief.  In light of this it is essential to actively reject inaccurate portrayals of one another in the media.
 
We exist in the space between these worlds, promoting dialogue and understanding between journalists, faith communities and the public.  We also develop practical tools, resources and training to encourage media literacy in faith communities and religious literacy in media.  It leads to richer, truer media coverage that benefits everyone.