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Grant to support reporting on religion

Grant to Support Reporting on Religion
USC Annenberg professor Diane Winston

USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism professor Diane Winston, who holds the Knight Chair in Media and Religion, has received a $300,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to promote excellence in journalism.

The project, “Promoting Excellence in Journalism Reporting on the Intersection of Religion and Domestic Issues,” aims to expand and enhance exemplary coverage of an underreported topic across media platforms.

Specifically, the project will examine how religion – a defining force for the articulation of morals, values and meaning – shapes opinions, attitudes and activities regarding domestic problems such as sexuality, immigration, poverty, housing and health care.

The initiative addresses two key requirements for this type of socially engaged reporting. First, by supporting and promoting outstanding coverage that tackles issues and ideas neglected by mainstream news media; and second, by bringing together scholars and journalists to explore how religion can be a facilitator of social change as well as a force in social justice debates.

“At the heart of this project is the conviction that despite upheavals in the news industry, now – more than ever – Americans need exemplary journalism. In-depth and thorough coverage of significant issues enables informed public debate and decision-making,” Winston said.

The project will fund a variety of activities, including a fellowship for Domestic Reporting on Religion; master classes for USC Annenberg journalism students taught by fellows; a lecture series by fellows; seminars at USC convening journalists, graduate journalism students and scholars around the theme “Religion and Domestic Social Change”; and establish an online presence with a section of the Knight Chair Web site devoted to religion and domestic social change.

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