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New Study looks at GR Press Religion Section

May 19, 2010

A group of Calvin College students, in conjunction with GRIID, decided on a project that would look the religion section of the Grand Rapids Press for the entire year of 2009.

The Press religion section only runs on Saturdays and the students decide this would be a valuable investigation. The students wanted to look at how the Grand Rapids Press discusses religion in the paper.

Here is a summary of their findings:

  • Coverage was more prominent with establish movements vs. new religious movements
  • The focus of much of the coverage was conflict driven
  • There was also a fair amount of coverage of politics and its relationship to religion.

The study looked at a total of 438 articles from the Saturday religion section of the Press during 2009. They looked at article written by Press writers as well as wire service stories.

The students measured the stories based on the various religious traditions, themes and attitudes. Not surprisingly the majority of stories were based on the Christian tradition, with the bulk of those made up of the Catholic and Christian Reformed traditions.

The study also looked at sources (who was quoted in the articles), based on position in those religious traditions and their gender. Race was not included since it was difficult to determine the racial makeup of sources. When faith leaders were sourced in the stories it was overwhelmingly male, but when the stories source faith members the majority were women.

You can read the entire report by going to this link.

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