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Jan. 31: A discussion of "Religion Coverage in the Middle East"

A journalist and journalism professor discuss why religion is so poorly covered in the news in the Middle East when it is such an essential part of most of the conflicts

When: Tuesday, January 31, 7:30AM - 10:30PM

Where: Butler University, Clowes Auditorium

War and political conflict dominate news from Israel, the Palestinian territories, Iraq and the rest of the Middle East. And despite the religious diversity of the region and the religious roots of much of the conflict, news coverage in the western media virtually ignores religion. What is the role of religion in the news in the Middle East? Why is it often neglected? And which media around the world are doing good work in this arena?

Speaking about these questions will be Serge Schmemann, editorial page editor for the International Herald Tribune. Schmemann won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in 1990. He has spent more than 30 years working in Europe and the Middle East, and is the former Jerusalem bureau chief for the New York Times. Schmemann is the editor and contributor to Israel: The Historic Atlas -- The Story of Israel From Ancient Times to the Modern Nation (1997). Students of Russian politics know him from his excellent book, Echoes of a Native Land : Two Centuries of a Russian Village.

Replying to Schmemann will be David Boeyink, professor of journalism at Indiana University who specializes in media ethics and brings theological training to this work. He holds two graduate degrees, in theology and religious ethics from Harvard University.

Think of this discussion as an excellent introduction to a conversation that will continue throughout the spring. On March 20 at Marian College American journalist Jon Sawyer and Lebanese reporter Habib Battah will discuss how the news media in the Middle East is changing. You'll have three very different opportunities to discuss Iran-US relations since this is part of the "Great Decisions" series being offered by several organizations: Feb. 1, Feb. 14, and April 5. And on February 15 an Uzbek reporter comes to talk about journalism in a country that is waging a brutal war on its enemies, which it claims are Islamic extremists.

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