Academics and journalists need each other. Without scholars to call on to bring them up to speed on complex issues, reporters would often be lost and left to the devices of partisans and interested parties. Without journalists, academics would be stuck talking largely to one another, locked out of the national conversation. But the relationship between academia and the news media is fraught with tension, sometimes even acrimony. Scholars say journalists care more about meeting deadlines and getting clicks or viewers than getting at the truth. Journalists accuse scholars of being too sanctimoniousness to supply usable soundbytes. Dan Gilgoff, Religion Editor at CNN.com and Georgia State University’s 2011-2012 Religion and Public Life Fellow, takes a step back to explore what the worlds of scholarship and the news media can learn from one another, and how the two might forge more fruitful relationships.
Since January 2009, Dan Gilgoff has overseen all religion coverage for CNN. He launched and manages CNN’s Belief Blog, which receives over 6 million hits per month. He has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, Politico, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, and U.S. News & World Report. He is the recipient of several awards, including the 2010 Templeton-Cambridge Fellow award for science and religion journalism.
Dan writes, “Georgia State's religion department is boldly expanding the conversation around religion's role in society, which is a big part of what CNN has been doing over the last year. I'm excited to help shape that increasingly relevant discussion at a moment when there's growing recognition of religion's role in the headlines.
I'm honored to be stepping into this fellowship at a university that is helping lead a global discussion that few would have predicted we'd be having in 2011, about religion's huge and growing influence in world events.
I'm planning to bring Georgia State students to CNN to provide an insider's look at how a major news organization covers religion and to facilitate conversations on campus that critically examine that news coverage and explore its implications.”