2018 Convention: April 5-7 in Atlanta, Georgia — Realizing the Dream: Peace and Justice Through Communication

DeRose-Hinkhouse Award entries open

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2018 convention engages how faith communities use public relations

Atlanta — One of the plenary panels during the 2018 Religion Communicators Council (RCC) National Convention will demonstrate how faith groups have used advertising and public relations to reach key populations since the 19th century. The meeting runs April 5-7.

Realizing the Dream: Peace and Justice Through Communication is the theme of the three-day event at the Sheraton Atlanta. One highlight on the meeting schedule is a visit to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

Meeting participants can choose from workshops covering multi-religious activism, enhancing your story with digital media, copyright laws, media monitoring, branding and design, crisis communication, and planning for the “We Are Sikhs” national public service announcement campaign. The 15 workshops are organized into three five-session tracks:

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‘Engaging the wider community’ on religious topics

By Linda Bloom

David Gibson at New York Chapter meeting (photo by Ryan Koch)

David Gibson, the well-known Religion News Service reporter, recently spoke with members of the Religion Communicators Council’s New York Chapter about his new position as director of the Fordham University Center on Religion and Culture.

He was part of the chapter’s Nov. 21 lunch meeting in the offices of United Methodist Women at the Interchurch Center, 475 Riverside Dr.

According to its website, the center, based at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus, “explores the complex relationship between religion and contemporary life in a manner that advances beyond the caricatures and misapprehensions that often form public perceptions and color media coverage about faith issues.”

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“FAITH ON THE FRONTLINES” to be broadcast December 3 on CBS

Photo by RCC member Steven D. Martin

FAITH ON THE FRONTLINES, a CBS Interfaith Special, looks at the interfaith clergy movement that has vowed to take on white supremacy. This special broadcast will air Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017 (check local listings ) on the CBS Television Network.

As the Charlottesville, Virginia city council discussed plans to remove confederate statues from local parks, tension within the community was mounting. In May and July, two separate demonstrations by white nationalists and Ku Klux Klan members inspired counter-protests by local activists, including clergy. This summer, as word got out about the size and scope of an upcoming white supremacist Unite the Right rally, local faith leaders quickly mobilized and formed Congregate Charlottesville. In addition to non-violent direct action training, the group invited national faith leaders and lay people from around the country to join them in their counter-protest against white supremacy. On August 12, the Unite the Right rally ended in the death of a 32-year-old woman and two police officers.

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Workshops at spring 2018 convention to help Religion Communicators polish skills

ATLANTA, Georgia – Fifteen professional development workshops during the 2018 Religion Communicators Council National Convention will help faith-based communicators enhance their management, storytelling and interpretive skills. The meeting runs April 5-7 in Atlanta.

Meeting participants can choose from workshops covering multi-religious activism, copyright laws, media monitoring, branding and design, crisis communication, and planning for the “We Are Sikhs” national public service announcement campaign. The 15 workshops are organized into three five-session tracks:

  • Management — Sessions related to public relations as a management function and the subjects tested on the Examination for Accreditation in Public Relations.

  • Communication techniques — Sessions designed to improve storytelling skills and abilities to engage key publics through various media.

  • Interfaith issues — Sessions that examine roles communicators play in promoting religious literacy, fostering understanding of various faith traditions and cultivating relations between people of differing faiths.

Realizing the Dream: Peace and Justice Through Communication is the theme of the three-day event at the Sheraton Atlanta. One highlight on the meeting schedule is a visit to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

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2018 DeRose-Hinkhouse Awards – Open for Entries

DeRose-Hinkhouse Best of Class statueIt’s time to renew your RCC membership and guarantee your eligibility for the DeRose-Hinkhouse Awards for excellence in religion communication. As you renew, think about the great work you have done this past year and enter it for an award.

  • What projects are you most proud of?

  • What resources did you create that were really helpful?

  • What milestones did you accomplish?

  • Where did your creativity shine?

Feeling modest? Ask your colleagues and friends for suggestions.

For the entry form and list of categories, visit the DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards page. Enter now to avoid the end of January rush (DEADLINE is January 19th).

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Conference to explore the future of faith and storytelling

 LOS ANGELES — What does the future of faith look like? How will stories be told about it? And by whom?

A host of partners working at the intersection of journalism, religion, communication and culture will present the one-day event “Reimagining Religion 2018: New Stories, New Communities” on Jan. 26 at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in Los Angeles.

Read more on the RNS site...

Read more on the RCC site...

Webinar: Punctuated: Re-thinking Communications in our Interrelated World

On Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at 1 PM ET, Robert Chase will lead a webinar with RCC members drawing insights from his storied career in faith-based communications. See the Robert J. Chase website and his new book Beyond the Comma for more information.

Using the simple mark of punctuation separating all that comes before from all that follows, Chase explores how we navigate the changes after “comma moments” in our life journeys. Some of these pauses are intricately planned and self-created like a sabbatical or the birth of a child; others are imposed by external forces – sometimes violently or without warning – like an act of terror or a devastating illness.

Beyond the Comma challenges the reader to be attentive to these moments and the multi-layered intersections that follow. Some intersections are deeply personal; others are corporate, even global. According to the book’s premise, by navigating the interrelationship of these forces, we become more whole.

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Entry period opens for 2018 Wilbur Awards

Religion Communicators Council to accept submissions until Feb. 5.

Wilbur Award trophyThe Religion Communicators Council (RCC) is accepting entries for the 2018 Wilbur Awards. Secular media professionals have until Feb. 5, 2018 to submit work produced in 2017 for consideration in one of the oldest recognition programs in religion communication.

The council has presented Wilbur Awards annually since 1949. They honor excellence by individuals in secular media – print and online journalism, books, blogs, film, radio, podcasts, and television – in communicating religious issues, positive values and themes.

Winners in 2017 included 20th Century Fox – “Hidden Figures”; Woman’s Day Magazine – “Winning at Life”; The Associated Press – “Divided America”; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – “Silent Sanctuaries”; The Commercial Appeal – “Faith Matters”; Unity Productions – “American Muslims: Facts vs. Fiction”; CBS-TV Sunday Morning – “The Harmony Project”; ABC Television – “black-ish”; and National Geographic – “The Story of God with Morgan Freeman” along with documentary film makers, bloggers, and book authors. See the 2017 Wilbur Awards program and winners list for a complete list.

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RCC membership special — a “two-fer”

Beginning in July, RCC is inviting NEW members to join the organization for 2018 and receive the rest of 2017 at no additional cost. Follow this link to the Join RCC! web page.

It is a bargain! Who do you know who could benefit? Send them the link to Join RCC!

Tips when covering Islam and Muslims

Wajahat AliTop 30 do's and don'ts when covering Islam and Muslims — Tips from Wajahat Ali, co-host of Al Jazeera America’s The Stream to the 2015 RCC National Convention.

The first three are:

  • Do diversify your portfolio of token Muslims. Different Muslim super heroes have different superpowers.
  • Do not assume Arabs = Muslims and Muslims = Arab. Do not use them interchangeably.
  • Do seek out Muslims who are black and/or white and or other colors. They exist, not all are brown.

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51 things I’ve learned after 50 years in the editor’s chair

By Rich Peck

Photo of Rich Peck and cover of Speaking Faith

Rick Peck is editor of the 7th edition of RCC handbook, Speaking Faith: the Essential Handbook for Religion Communicators.

Photo of Rich Peck: A UMNS photo by Kathleen Barry.

  • Avoid unnecessary alphabet gumbo.
  • The use of a dateline saves space and adds clarity. Some editors say the use of a dateline misleads readers to believe the author was in that city. Readers are smart enough to know by the context whether the author was actually in the city or only writing about an event in that city. There is no need to repeat the name of the city in the article.
  • Adding adjectives frequently clutters sentences and they are often subjective; use sparingly.
  • Use precise descriptions: Avoid: “The young child.” Instead: “The five-year-old boy.”
  • Avoid using the same words in a single paragraph but don’t search the Thesaurus for a seldom used word.

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