Largest-ever global survey reveals strong consumer demand for more information about religion and faith, plus barriers among journalists and editors



NEW YORK, September 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The largest-ever global study of faith and media is launched today, examining the portrayal of faith and religion in the media. It reveals strong demand across the world for more media coverage of the faith, despite journalists and editors admitting that coverage of the stories is rarely encouraged in newsrooms.

The study collects the views of 9,000 global citizens as well as journalists and editors in 18 countries covering the world’s major religions. The research was commissioned by the Faith and Media Initiative (FAMI) and conducted by global market research firm HarrisX.

The study reflects the general population’s sentiment that media coverage can perpetuate religion-related stereotypes rather than protect them. It also outlines some of the factors that journalists and editors believe can lead to religious and faith-based stereotyping in news coverage.

The study also signals the universal recognition among journalists and editors that coverage of faith and religion needs to be reset. It captures detailed information about the complex set of factors that have created the current status quo affecting editorial coverage.

“The data reveals that faith and religion are a central part of personal identity around the world, with 82% of respondents considering themselves to be faithful, religious or spiritual,” said Dritan Nesho, CEO of HarrisX. “Yet the journalists we spoke with believe that coverage of faith and religion is increasingly marginalized due to everything from the economics of the newsroom to the fear of ‘getting it wrong’.

“Ultimately, the research points to a clear global deficit in the coverage, treatment and quality of understanding of faith and religion in modern media.” Nesho added.

Key insights from the Global Faith and Media Study include:

People around the world see the need for better representation of faith and religion in the media

  • 63% of global respondents said high-quality content about faith and religion is needed in their respective countries.
  • 53% of people worldwide believe that media coverage actively ignores religion as an aspect of today’s society and culture.
  • 59% of people globally think it is important that media coverage reflects a diverse set of religious perspectives in their content and reporting.
  • 56% of people worldwide agree there should be more nuanced coverage of complex religious issues.

Religious stereotypes are a global concern when it comes to faith and religious coverage

  • 61% of people globally said media coverage often perpetuates faith-based stereotypes rather than fighting and protecting against them.
  • 53% of people worldwide believe that religious stereotyping should receive the same level of attention as other stereotyping issues in the media.

More diverse spokespersons are needed to represent faith and religion in media coverage

  • More than 80% of people around the world believe that faith and religious groups should provide the media with a greater variety of spokespersons.
  • Journalists and editors agree that there is a problem with religious stereotypes in media coverage and noted that the lack of varied media sources and spokespersons for faith-based organizations is a significant problem which they believe perpetuates the problem.

Media agree editorial coverage of faith and religion has become more marginalized

  • The Global Faith and Media Study reveals the complex set of factors that have influenced how faith and religion are covered in the media, based on direct interviews with journalists.
  • Media respondents universally described a continued marginalization of media coverage of faith and religion and cited numerous influencing factors resulting in increasingly lopsided reporting:
    • Newsroom economy: Media outlets surveyed reported tight budgets resulting in a lack of specialized journalists in newsrooms. They cited a “hollowing out” of specialties within press teams, leaving generalists to cover topics including faith and religion.
    • To fear to be wrong : The media described a general “fear” in the newsroom regarding the coverage of religion. At a time defined by some as a time when religion has become increasingly politicized, media coverage – often at high speed – is accompanied by the tacit acceptance that it is impossible to cover the subject with a level of nuance and sensitivity given the time and resources available. .
    • Diversity and dynamics of press rooms: Media respondents from all regions noted that newsroom teams rarely represent the plurality of religious views in society, resulting in self-limitation in exploring the religious agenda. Among strongly faith-based journalists, there is a feeling that they could be judged negatively if they covered stories related to their faith or religion, as this would raise questions about their impartiality and risk damaging their reputation in the room. of writing.
    • Clicks for Controversy: A consensus exists among media respondents that faith and religion are not seen as drivers of reader engagement. Editors rarely encourage stories in this area unless they fit a story of controversy, dissent, or scandal. This goes against the 63% of people globally who said high-quality content about faith and religion is needed in their respective countries.
    • Lack of spokespersons aggravating religious stereotypes: Stereotyping was identified by media respondents as a problem, with the lack of diversity of sources and spokespersons for faith and religious groups seen as a significant problem that perpetuates the problem. Many outlets claim that religion is most often positioned as a conservative or extreme force in editorial coverage and have suggested this fuels the tendency to seek outspoken spokespersons over those who are more moderate.

“This groundbreaking global study of the attitudes of people, journalists and editors to media coverage of faith and religion will be used as a springboard for positive change,” said Brooke Zaugg, Vice President of The Faith and Media Initiative. “These new findings highlight the urgent need to offer religious leaders greater access to the power and reach of the news media, and the media a direct line to religious leaders for a better understanding of beliefs in context. of modern society.”By joining forces, we can better serve humanity by ensuring a more accurate and balanced representation of all faiths in journalism and entertainment around the world,”

You can follow the conversation for FAMI at: TwitterFacebook, Instagram, #faithandmedia, #FAMI and for HarrisX: Twitter and LinkedIn

For media inquiries, please contact:

Perry Dorset, Rakhee Rathod and Leila Hrycyszyn on: [email protected]

Corinne Gorda on: [email protected]

About the Global Faith and Media Study
The Global Faith and Media Study represents the opinions of 9,489 quantitative interviews between August and September 2022. Surveys were conducted in 18 countries around the world, with regions selected to cover the major world religions in North America, Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Additionally, news media views were collected through 30 in-depth qualitative interviews with journalists and editors across the same geographic footprint. To download the report, go to:

The study is the first flagship news report available on The Faith and Media Index, a new platform launched by The Faith and Media Initiative, which will partner with the world’s most respected institutions to build a robust platform research and data. The index will include original insights into the global faith and media landscape, early identification of trends and opportunities for collaboration, and a robust data resource for journalists, editors and content creators. The first issue of The Global Faith and Media Study was funded, in part, by a grant from the Radiant Foundation

About the Faith and Media Initiative
The Faith and Media Initiative (FAMI) is a non-profit organization that connects and provides resources to a global and diverse network of media members, content creators, faith leaders and community members working together to ensure accurate and balanced representation of all faiths in entertainment and journalism. The work to date has been led by an exploratory working group, including various experts from faith, media, academia and business. The task force is committed to developing strategies for change – from building coalitions to language fluency training, to finding and recognizing individuals and companies leading the way. More information on the Faith and Media Initiative is available here.

About HarrisX
HarrisX is a leading global research consultancy that conducts major market research, public policy polling, and social science studies in more than 40 countries around the world. It is part of Stagwell Global and sister company Harris Poll, which has conducted public polling internationally since 1963.


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