Newsroom

Ask, decide, and take action: Tips for visualizing expanded media engagement

By Michelle Collins, Director of Communication and Discipleship (Florida-Bahamas Synod, ELCA)

Jacqueline Fuller (photo by George Conklin)

In her workshop, Jacqueline Fuller, RCC Board member and host and executive producer of the TV Show “Interfaith Connections” in Washington, D.C., gave participants practical steps for visualizing an expanded media engagement on a limited budget. The purpose of the “Visualizing Your 15 Minutes of Fame” workshop was to strengthen the competency and confidence participants felt when wanting to increase the visibility and connection between their organization and the media.

Participants in the workshop represented a variety of faith communities, from Episcopal to 7th Day Adventist, from Buddhist to Lutheran, as well as some independent communicators and consultants. They began by sharing their goals for the workshop – most identifying a goal having to do with strengthening the connection between their organization and the media and expanding visibility and publicity.

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Awards presented to religion communicators

By Eron Henry, APR

DeRose-Hinkhouse Best in Class winners (photo by George Conklin)

The Religion Communicators Council (RCC), the oldest public relations organization in the United States, recognized outstanding work done by its members in 2017.

The annual DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards are given annually to active members of the RCC who demonstrate excellence in religious communication and public relations.

News, feature, promotional and other materials in all forms of media – print, electronic and digital – with either local, regional or national reach, were recognized.

Winners were presented with Best in Class, Awards of Excellence and Awards of Merit during the DeRose-Hinkhouse Awards ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia on April 5.

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Intersectional justice: Gender, race, and religion in the media

By Megan Anderson

Dr. Glory Dharmaraj (photo by George Conklin)

Dr. Glory Dharmaraj began the session by presenting glaring statistics about women in the reporting field. They can all be found on the Who Makes the News website. Her main message was that gender and religion are not monolithic categories that can be essentialized and that the framing of gender, race, and religion do not occur in a vacuum. The language of “family values” is often used as a reason to keep women from advancing in the field. They are also influenced by fear and the emergence of nascent nationalist ideology.

Next, the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC), presented on news accessibility, equality of access, and the representation of people and issues. Who is visible/invisible? Is more than one side of the story presented?

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RCC members learn about Atlanta’s history

By Anne Keever Cannon, APR

Tear stains are still visible on the veil worn by Coretta Scott King at Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral. The veil is on exhibit at the Center for Nonviolent Social Change. (Photo by Anne Keever Cannon, APR.)

Some 25 RCC members got a close-up look at Atlanta’s heart Thursday.

They visited the neighborhood where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was born, grew up and ministered. They saw his alma mater, Morehouse College, and learned a bit about the city’s vibrant downtown.

The bus stopped first at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park. The area stretches several blocks along Auburn Avenue. It includes the house where the civil rights icon was born and grew up; Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he served as assistant pastor; and the crypt where King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, are buried.

The church is the area’s center. It’s been restored to look as it did when King ministered there in the 1960s. It’s no longer an active church – the congregation built a new home across the street in 1999 to accommodate growth.

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Atlanta convention opens with keynote on “Realizing the Dream”

By Carolyn Lewis

Keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Byron E. Thomas (photo by George Conklin)

Rev Russell Pierce, executive director of the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church welcomed the annual Religion Communicators Council convention to Atlanta. He said that Atlanta is an international city rich in history and pointed out that his staff is now working out of a local congregation after years of being in New York.

Keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Byron E. Thomas, senior pastor of Ben Hill United Methodist Church in Atlanta, called “bitterness on all sides” an impediment to improving relationships in the US.

Speaking on the theme of “Realizing the Dream of Peace and Justice through Communication,” he said, “Bitterness causes people to see others as an ‘it’ rather than a ‘thou.’”

“If we fail to deal with bitterness any progress will not bring a long lasting and endurable peace.”

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