Religion, Journalism, and Democracy: Strengthening Vital Institutions of Civil Society


Democracy and the institutions on which it depends are being tested today in ways unseen in recent decades. Populist movements are sweeping across the globe, while authoritarian regimes challenge democratic norms once taken for granted.

Key institutions of civil society—the academy, press, and religious organizations—can serve as bulwarks that protect democratic principles. Notwithstanding their distinct missions, they protect democracy when they reinforce one another. Unfortunately, the gap between scholarship about religion and the media’s understanding of religion is wider than ever. Journalists lack training in how to cover religion stories, while religious studies and other scholars need skills to share their knowledge effectively with journalists and the public. 

The Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University are spearheading this initiative to remedy these shortcomings. This project brings together journalists and scholars from religious studies and related fields to participate in workshops, seminars, and courses where they will exchange insights and expertise from their respective fields.

Funded by a grant from the Luce/ACLS Program in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs, the project bolsters the voices of journalists and scholars while also exploring how religious actors and organizations contribute to democratic culture—locally, nationally, and as part of global civil society.