Courageous reporters taking on powerful religious groups and drug dealers to do excellent religion journalism. The increasing mix of religion and politics in Latin America. How a Spanish entrepreneur convinced the papacy to use social media. The ways Pentecostal-Catholic competition is contributing to religious revival in the region.

International audiences, including readers of three of Latin America’s largest newspapers, received insights into the state of religion and journalism in Latin America in reporting coming out of the recent IARJ conference in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Enjoy the work of Sergio Rubin, Jose Maria Mayrink, Mariano de Vedia and other prominent writers in the articles below.

El periodismo de religiones, una especialidad compleja y en alza

Sergio Rubin of Clarin reports on the development of the International association of Religion Journalists and discusses issues facing religion writers, including the legal challenges brought against Brazilian investigative reporter Elvira Lobato for her work on the finances of a major Pentecostal group and the courage shown by Luis Chaparro of Mexico in writing about the cult of “Santa Muerte” embraced by drug traffickers.

El contenido religioso se adapta muy bien a las nuevas tecnologías

Mariano De Vedia of La Nacion tells the fascinating story of how Gustavo Entrala helped convince Pope Benedict to open a Twitter account. Pope Francis now has millions of followers and is retweeted in impressive numbers.

Jornalistas de 11 países debatem religião nos meios de comunicação

Jose Maria Mayrink of O Estado de S. Paulo reported on the challenges reporters face in getting religion news in the media, particularly reporting about religious minorities. He also shared discussions about the growing entanglement of religion and politics in Latin America and the obstacles journalists face in getting information from religious groups.

Of Chronicles and Beliefs

IARJ Board Chair Maria Paz-Lopez reports on the conference’s highlights by exploring the sometimes uncomfortable relationship between journalism and religion. As she writes:

In different parts of the world, reporters and analysts working for non-confessional media often hear similar complaints of religious leaders when it comes to chronicles and beliefs: There is no spiritual dimension in news stories.

Según analistas, revive el espíritu religioso en América Latina

IARJ Executive Director David Briggs, who also writes the Ahead of the Trend column on religion research for the Association of Religion Data Archives, reports that a combination of increasing religious freedom and competition is contribution to a rising tide of religion in the region. A Catholic Church in Latin America that was in danger of becoming a stale religious monopoly is reasserting itself in what is a vibrant religious landscape from Mexico to Brazil.

Homem que convenceu o papa a cair na rede social revela os bastidores das tuitadas papais

Gustavo Werneck wrote in Estado de Minas about the papacy’s road to Twitter and shares some popular tweets from Pope Francis.

Rádio Vaticano participa de encontro internacional sobre jornalismo e religião

Cesar Augusto dos Santos of Vatican Radio provided details of the conference.