This blog is maintained on behalf of the Amy Foundation for the purpose of tracking the best Christian journalism we find on the Web. Our posts regularly identify those news articles or opinions in the mainstream media that represent good faith-based writing and example them for other Christian journalists.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Good book review, doesn't qualify

Here is an article on the book, “Blind Spot: When Journalists Don't Get Religion," in the Wall Street Journal, written by Vincent Carroll, editorial-page editor of the Rocky Mountain News.

Carroll writes in the December 22, 2008 Wall Street Journal edition:
In a jarring misreading of the Islamist mentality, the New York Times last month described a Jewish center in Mumbai, India, as the "unlikely target" of the terrorists who attacked various locations there. "It is not known if the Jewish center was strategically chosen," the Times went on to declare, "or if it was an accidental hostage scene."

Paul Marshall would not be surprised by such stunningly naïve statements. In "Blind Spot: When Journalists Don't Get Religion" -- a collection of essays that he edited with Lela Gilbert and Roberta Green Ahmanson -- he notes that similar assertions have been common in the coverage of Islamic terrorism. The book's contributors explore all sorts of news stories with a religious component -- Islamic and otherwise -- showing where reporters have veered off course and discussing the reasons why.
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Although well written, Carroll’s article isn’t the type of journalism the Amy Writing Awards intends to recognize because it doesn’t include identifiable scripture and doesn’t promote a faith-based world view, only criticizes secular ones.

What his article does exceptionally well is identify why we have the Amy Writing Awards and this blog— that is, to promote knowledge representation of faith-based issues. To quote the Amy Foundation’s website:
The Amy Foundation Writing Awards program is designed to recognize creative, skillful writing that applies in a sensitive, thought-provoking manner the biblical principles to issues affecting the world today, with an emphasis on discipling.

To be eligible, submitted articles must be published in a secular, non-religious publication (either printed or online) and must be reinforced with at least one passage of scripture.
Please don’t get me wrong, Carroll’s article is important because it demonstrates the need for more informed faith-based journalism, but it had the potential for excellent, in terms of Amy Writing Award entries, if it had turned from its sharp, accurate criticism to indentify why it is important to properly cover such issues, possibly providing an example of when mainstream media gets it right (and it does frequently). What’s more, it highlights a resource, Paul Marshall’s "Blind Spot: …

I just wanted biblical truth and journalism’s sword in the same 950-word opinion.


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