Showing posts with label religion communicators. Show all posts
Showing posts with label religion communicators. Show all posts

Friday, March 27, 2009

Where are people getting news about religious life today?

The past two days have been spent at the Religion Communicators Council conference at the Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge. This is a picture of the Boston skyline taken from the hotel on Thursday morning. The conference was a great opportunity for networking with communicators from other religious denominations. I decided to go because I wanted to support the members of the local Boston chapter of RCC who had done a huge amount of work in preparation for the event. But I gained so much more from the experience. While there was a vast diversity of religious denominations, there was a powerful unity in the desire to effectively communicate the message and mission our organizations. I learned a lot and really had a chance to look at our ministry as communicators for women religious through a wider lens.

While helping with registration I met several students who were at the conference on scholarship. The whole concept of offering scholarships to college and graduate students who are interested in faith-based communications is brilliant. It’s energizing to the veteran members and places these younger people in a professional environment where they can build a network of relationships for the future. One of these students was Meg. She’s studying in Indiana but it turns out that she has connections with CSJs. This morning when I checked my email, I discovered that she had written about me on her blog. Here’s the link: Who knows, maybe someday Meg will end up working in communications for some group of Sisters of St. Joseph.

Both the keynote speakers and the breakout speakers were excellent. I learned so much. This morning’s panel of speakers included Michael Paulsen from the Boston Globe, Rachael Zoll from Associated Press, and John Yemma from the Christian Science Monitor . Today is the last day the Monitor will produce a print edition. The whole newspaper is going online. John explained some of the changes and the long range strategic communication plan that brought this about. It was not a quick decision. It was a good illustration of the changing landscape of how news is delivered. Online newsletters, blogs, wikis, twitter, facebook, and social networking in general were all discussed from the perspective of faith based communication. Michael told us he reads 107 blogs each day just to keep up with what’s going on. He spoke of the transformation in the “religion beat” in the nine years he’s worked for the Globe. So many papers across the country have cut their religion reporters. Rachael is one of the two AP religion reporters in our entire country. That’s astounding! I wonder how many sports reporters they have. Michael explained how online news is raising new questions. He asked, “If we’re picking what we read online, where’s the common conversation?” I found myself really pondering something else Michael said: “We’re experiencing the loss of a collective consciousness.”

As I drove home tonight, I wondered about the impact all of this has on how or if women choose religious life as a viable option? The web is clearly a vehicle for discerning this choice…but there’s such a plethora of options out there. How does a woman who desires to live a vowed life in community find the place that is the best fit for herself?