Islam and the media – without media.

The Islam and the Media conference, held by the Center for Media, Religion and Culture at the University of Colorado at Boulder (January 7-10) was a huge success in bringing together leaders in thought and practise on religion and media. But you wouldn’t know it if you’d been watching mainstream media.
At a time in our history that international front pages and lead stories are obsessively dealing with some aspect of Islam, it’s interesting that of all the mainstream media reporters on religion who were invited to attend the conference or interview any of the delegates decided it was not enough of a priority. Surprising when the topic is hot, and when local media simply had to come to campus on any one of three days (including the weekend) to talk with any of the world leading scholars (including Elizabeth Poole)  on Islam and its representation in popular and digital media.
If I were a reporter with a beat, I’d not only be sure to be on top of the content, but the least I’d be doing is reporting on key influencers in my area.
Perhaps if there had been some events at the conference that reinforced the moral panics international media have aligned with Islam, we would have seen a greater presence of professional reporters – but they would have been reporting after the fact, by their own choice.
Should religion reporters have reported on this conference? Attended it to find out how their media is conveying ideas and representations of Islam?

arabs praying islam
Image courtesy Library of Congress

Unveiling the panic of Islamaphobia? Or does it serve traditional media to maintain and pander to the ignorance of the people who pay for what might or might not be newsworthy?

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