#MeToo – Bring empathy, passion and conviction to discussions

By Julie Brinker

Dr. Glory Dharmaraj, Dr. Karri Whipple, and Dr. Sarah Macharia

Photo by Julie Brinker

While the #MeToo movement may seem like a difficult topic to discuss openly, three scholars were able to speak to this, not just with empathy, but with passion and conviction at the second plenary of #RCCACP2019.

The #MeToo movement has created a platform calling for change around gender issues in nearly every sector of society. This panel took an intersectional approach to exploring and challenging the present state of gender representation in media and media production. The panelists, all engaged in a range of ongoing efforts to raise awareness about gender disparities, were Dr. Glory Dharmaraj, U.S. coordinator for the Global Media Monitoring Project (GMMP) of the World Association for Christian Communication; Dr. Sarah Macharia, global coordinator of the Global Media Monitoring Project; and Dr. Karri Whipple, a speaker, writer, and activist who promotes transformative justice work within communities.


Getting faith news into secular media

By Eric Shafer

Ryan John Koch leads Media Relations for Managers workshop.

Photo by Julie Brinker.

The focus of this workshop was getting faith news into secular media. Presenter is Ryan Koch and it all took place at the recent Religion Communicators Council National Convention meeting in Chicago.

Ryan John Koch is the LDS Director of Public & International Affairs in NYC which means he is their voice at the United Nations. In his former life, Koch worked for the U.S. State Department at embassies in Sweden and the Ukraine as a press officer.

He began by talking about what makes a good story – qualities such as uniqueness, connection (all news is local), relevance, timeliness, attention getting, fits larger trends, conflict. He noted that a good story idea must have support of your supervisor and be of interest to a news reporter and his/her editor.

Much of this is based on having an ongoing relationship with the news media, regular contact so that they know you and trust you and vice-versa. That way when there is a difficult story you can be proactive rather than reactive.


Improve skills, earn credentials via APR

By Deb Christian

Jeff Huett, APR, leads workshop on the benefits of earning the APR credential.

Photo by George Conklin.

Are you looking for a way to improve your skills and earn a credential that can advance your career? Consider beginning the process to earn Accredited in Public Relations (APR) certification.

“Be a Leader in Your Field” is the title of a workshop conducted by Jeff Huett, APR, at the joint Religion Communicators Council (RCC) and Associated Church Press (ACP) National Convention set in Chicago in early April. Huett spoke enthusiastically about both the opportunity to learn or hone important professional skills and the possibility of career advancement that can result from the combination of study and actual process to get the APR designation.

This credential is earned through a rigorous, but rewarding process, that shows commitment to professional advancement and broad strategic knowledge of the public relations process. RCC is one of nine organizations that make up the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB) and offers access to the APR process as a benefit of membership.


‘Backpack’ journalism: the new reality

By Joshua Kagi

Gregg Brekke leads “Backpack Journalism: Multi-platform story creation” workshop.

Photo by Julie Brinker.

In less than a generation, the role of a journalist has changed significantly. Stories which were once produced by teams of four or five people in traditional newsrooms are now expected to be produced by a single journalist. There are new demands on content creators. Writers are now expected to be photographers. Video producers are expected to write. Nearly everyone is expected to be able to produce a multi-format story.

“In a period of 30 years, everything has changed,” stated Gregg Brekke, in opening his 2019 RCC-ACP Convention workshop, “Backpack Journalism: Multi-platform story creation.”

Using the DPDPD acronym, Brekke presented a process toolkit to help journalists and aspiring storytellers with the current reality.


RCC holds annual business meeting

By Cherilyn Williams

Jackie Fuller, president

Shirley Struchen, executive director

The room was chilly but the spirit warm when President Jackie Fuller called the annual meeting of the Religion Communicators Council (RCC) to order on Thursday, April 11.

Executive Director Shirley Struchen reported that RCC has 420 members at last count and 57 were registered for this convention event. The Associated Church Press is meeting with us and have approximately 47 in attendance.

Treasurer Kurt Gwartney was clear that the group’s revenue streams are limited and in decline. Some of the faith groups that have been most supportive are losing communicators. However, Vice President Eric Shafer challenged members to give a $90 gift to celebrate the RCC’s 90th birthday. A total of $720 was collected during the meeting. (You can still contribute on the RCC Donate page.)

In another link to the birthday number, the membership team headed up by Fuller and former president, Casey Tom, announced a special rate of $90 for new members. In addition, the membership team is specifically targeting Jewish, Muslim, African Methodist Episcopal (AME) and Sikh faith communities to invite membership.

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