Course Details

When Religion Makes the News: Workshop & Networking

This event was held on 8th November 2016

Chair: Roger Bolton (Panorama, Sunday, This Week, Right to Reply, Feedback)

In mainstream journalism, religion is a key element in many top stories. How well-equipped are journalists to grasp and interpret the powerful impetus of religion in our world?

An informed understanding of how religion shapes lives, politics and conflict today, at home and abroad – religious literacy – is now an essential for the journalist.

This day-long workshop – the first of its kind in Wales – opens up religious literacy by offering expertise, resources and a chance to interrogate your personal standpoint and troubleshoot professional practice.

Open to those responsible for media in the range of faith communities and related secular forums in Wales, it offers excellent networking. Lunch included.

We would like to thank ITV Cymru Wales for supporting this event by providing the venue: The Life Sciences Hub in Cardiff Bay. NUJ Training Wales is funded by Welsh Government.


9am Arrival, refreshments and pastries

9.30  Welcome and showcase of Welsh media coverage of faith-related stories

9.45 Introduction from the Chair, Roger Bolton (Panorama, Tonight, Nationwide,This Week: Death on the Rock,Right To Reply,Sunday, Feedback).

9.55  Dr Jenny Taylor (journalist; founder and executive director of Lapido Media, specialist briefing agency on religious literacy).

The Big Picture: Religion on the Global Stage, Religion on your Doorstep. Essentials for the journalist on Faith, Ideology, Culture and Ethnicity. Why it’s important to report faith well.


10.40  20 minute refreshment break


11.00 – 12.00  Discussion led by the Chair

Religion engaging with the media: Getting the most from media reps

Media reps from among the many facets of the 3 Abrahamic faiths in Wales present their services and resources and discuss challenges facing journalists such as accessing representative opinion and covering the unrepresented.

  • Catholic Church:  Maggie Doherty
  • Church in Wales:  Anna Morrell
  • Union of Welsh Independents:  Alun Lenny
  • Muslim Council of Wales:  Abdul-Azim Ahmed
  • Board of Deputies of British Jews:  Sheila Gewolb
  • Judaism and the Media:  Professor Nathan Abrams

12.00 – 13.00  Getting to Know Islam in the UK and Wales

The ideological range, structures and international links of the main branches of Islam.

  • Islam and Muslim Communities in the UK and Wales: Innes Bowen, author of Medina in Birmingham, Najaf in Brent: Inside British Islam; editor of current affairs programmes for BBC Radio 4 and the World Service
  • Reporting on Muslim Life in the UK: Hussein Kesvani, journalist, Theos Thinktank


13.00 – 14.00  Networking lunch


14.00 – 15.00  Parallel Workshops

  1. For journalists and media academics: Objectivity, Bias and Belief: An opportunity for self-scrutiny

Beliefs and values are not exclusive to the religious. Dr Jenny Taylor leads a session designed to allow each journalist an opportunity to identify his or her own ‘norms’ and any blind spots and to consider how this may affect the journalist’s working practice. Do notions of political correctness affect the news agenda?

  1. For representatives of faith communities and of the spectrum of belief and for other non-journalist participants: Working with Journalists – An opportunity to consider your experience, your agenda, your media practice

The secular media and belief: What is newsworthy? TV producer and media trainer, Angela Graham leads an audit of media-readiness. What do believers expect from the media and what do they have to offer? The essentials for communicating to mass media.


15.00 – 15.20  Refreshment break


15.20 – 15.40  Professor Aaqil Ahmed, BBC Head of Religion and Ethics:  Why we need better religious literacy


15.40 – 16.25  Dr Michael Munnick: Working with Faith Communities: Journalistic realities and good practice.

Radio journalist, Michael Munnik (Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK, Cardiff University) presents a case study and leads this open session in which journalists and believers share experiences and dilemmas.

Getting beyond gate-keepers; Political Correctness; Understanding what motivates religious people; the gap between Doctrine and Practice; ‘hardliners’ and liberals; Religion in a Secular Society; nuance and the news agenda.

16.25 – 16.45  Chair’s conclusions

16.45   Close

EVENT ORGANISERS: Angela Graham with NUJ Training Wales

COST:   £19.50 (includes lunch & refreshments) Free to ITV Cymru Wales employees (sponsors).

Course Trainer

Roger Bolton

Roger Bolton

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