The Institute for Communication and Religion, within the College of Communication and the Arts, will welcome award-winning religion journalist David Gibson for Speaking Truth to Power: How Faith Can Get a Fair Hearing in Today's Media, on Tuesday, April 24, 2018, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in Bethany Hall Auditorium. The Seton Hall community and public are invited to attend the free event. University students are encouraged to participate in the Institute's "Tell Your Communication and Religion Story" Challenge prior to the program.
"Our inaugural event, Speaking Truth: Religion in the News Media, featured The Wall Street Journal Columnist William McGurn discussing how religion is covered in the news," said Monsignor Dennis Mahon, Ph.D., coordinator for the Institute for Communication and Religion and associate professor of communication. "Mr. Gibson's address will extend that conversation by explaining the dynamics of the industry — especially in this age of new media — and discussing how that can help as well as hurt efforts to develop quality religion coverage."
The event will feature Gibson delivering the keynote address "Telling the Old, Old Story in a Brand-New World" and an interactive panel discussion with interreligious media and communication thought-leaders. The evening will conclude with the opportunity to interact with Gibson and the panelists through a Q&A and meet and greet session. Refreshments will be served throughout the evening.
"Judging by the opinion polls, the American public does not have a lot of faith in the media," said Gibson. "The media's coverage of faith probably doesn't help, especially in the eyes of many believers. But if religious groups understand how the news media has changed, and how it works today, they can get their message out – perhaps more effectively than ever."
Gibson, who has covered topics like religion in contemporary America and the Vatican, was appointed the director of Fordham's Center on Religion and Culture in July 2017, coming to New York's Jesuit university after a long career as an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He's also a convert to Catholicism, and he came by all those vocations by accident, or Providence, while working at the English Program at Vatican Radio in Rome in the late 1980s. A native of Plainfield, New Jersey, he returned to the United States in 1990 and worked for the Bergen Record and then the Star-Ledger, as well as writing for various magazines. He also co-wrote and co-produced several documentaries for CNN and the History Channel.
He is the author of several books on the Catholic Church; most recently, he was a contributor, along with Cardinal Joseph Tobin, C.Ss.R., to A Pope Francis Lexicon, a book-length collection of essays on the Pontiff's use of language to communicate his mission. Gibson is also the co-author of a book on biblical archeology, Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery, that was the basis of a popular CNN series of the same name. Before coming to Fordham, Gibson was a national reporter at Religion News Service specializing in coverage of the Vatican and the Catholic Church. He lives with his wife and daughter in Brooklyn.
Prior to the event, University students are invited to enter the Institute's "Tell Your Communication and Religion Story" Challenge. Students can submit a creative piece that illustrates the relationship between communication and religion in a communication and the arts medium including, but not limited to, a painting, photograph, video, speech, public relations campaign, or song. Submissions should be sent via email to ICR@shu.edu by Friday, April 20. All submissions will be displayed at the event. The winner, who will be selected via audience live poll, will receive an exclusive Seton Hall gift basket and be recognized during the program.
Launched in Fall 2017, the Institute for Communication and Religion provides a nexus for ongoing scholarly exploration of communication topics critically important to religion and society. Under the leadership of Monsignor Mahon and inspired by Nostra Aetate, the Institute enhances the University's and the College's sustained leadership in fostering open, clear dialogue and study between religious believers and the broader public in the communication disciplines at the theoretical, professional, and practical levels.
The large-scale, interreligious event is the Institute's latest initiative. The Institute recently hosted curriculum development workshops, cosponsored Ethically Speaking, and its inaugural event, Speaking Truth: Religion in the News Media, featuring The Wall Street Journal Columnist William McGurn, took place in Fall 2017.
For additional information and to register, please visit the event's website here. The event is free and open to the public with pre-registration strongly encouraged. Stay connected at #SHUSpeakingTruth.
About the Institute for Communication and Religion
Launched in Fall 2017, the Institute for Communication and Religion within the College of Communication and the Arts provides a nexus for ongoing scholarly exploration of communication topics critically important to religion and society. Guided by the spirit of ecumenical and interreligious cooperation, the Institute seeks to engage in public dialogue and debate, promote academic inquiry and support the religious dimension of creativity — all while upholding the values of servant leadership, curricular innovation and intellectual excellence. For more information about the ICR, visit the Institute's website or email Jon Radwan, Ph.D., at firstname.lastname@example.org.