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Conference Explores Religion, Media

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July 12, 2005

Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George will join religion reporters and experts in Islam, Judaism and American evangelicalism in a conference exploring religion and the media Monday, July 25, at Northwestern University. The conference is free and open to the public.

Co-sponsored by Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and the Sheil Catholic Center at Northwestern, the “Symposium on Religion and the Press” will take place from 9 a.m. through noon at the McCormick Tribune Center Forum, 1870 Campus Drive, on the University’s Evanston campus.

“Religious beliefs, differences and antagonisms today affect virtually every area of life in every area of the world,” said Robert McClory, Northwestern professor emeritus of journalism. “The media have been hard pressed to keep abreast or even catch up.” McClory teaches in Medill’s Reporting Religion, Spirituality and Ethics Program and is a conference panelist.

“Formerly relegated to once-a-week notice in the press, issues about religion today demand front-and-center attention in news coverage of international affairs, politics, science, education and lifestyles,” McClory added. “One need only think about the war in Iraq and the debates over abortion, stem cell research, evolution and homosexuality to recognize that.”

In addition to Cardinal George and McClory, conference participants are Safaa Zarzour, an attorney and former teacher, principal and advisor of one of the largest independent Islamic schools in the country; Chicago Tribune reporter Manya Brachear, who last year was part of an award-winning team of journalists writing about Christian missionaries in the Muslim world for Time magazine; Michael Kotzin, executive vice president of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago; Award-winning WBBM Radio general reporter Bernie Tafoya, who covers many areas including religion; Edith Blumhofer, Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals, director, Wheaton College professor of history, and an expert in Pentecostalism and role of women in American evangelicalism; and Mary Ann Ahern, religion reporter from NBC5, who has covered Pope John Paul II and has traveled to Rome with Cardinal Francis George.

Sheil Catholic Center director and chaplain the Rev. Kenneth Simpson will moderate. Sheil received generous support from The Donald P. & Byrd M. Kelly Foundation in funding the symposium.

For further information about the upcoming conference on religion and the media, contact Medill at (847) 491-5401 or (847) 328-4648 or www.medill.northwestern.edu or contact Sheil at (847) 328-4648 or www.sheil.northwestern.edu.

Topics: Campus Life