Designed to Better Serve Our Members around the World

One look at this website redesign for the International Association of Religion Journalists and it will tell you why our organization is invaluable to reporters covering faith in this religiously fractured world.

You will see the diverse faces, stories, tips and resources from members on every continent (except Antarctica), who are consistently describing the impact of religion in our world for print, broadcast and online publications. Hardly a day passes without religion playing a role in news events from small towns to national policies.

Peggy Stack photo from St Lake Tribune

Much has happened with IARJ since our 2012 founding in Italy. We have held small face-to-face conferences in London, Brazil, Ghana, Poland, Argentina, the United States, Spain, and, soon, in Qatar.  We rewarded excellent work with the Piazza Grande Religion Reporting Prize. During the pandemic, we posted candid and enlightening online discussions of how COVID was being handled in various regions.

As our numbers have expanded, we have tried to respond to our members’ needs to connect, to educate, and to inform.

Now we heard from our members that — beyond news about our ongoing AR] work — they want to see more links to important religion news as reported by other journalists. So, we have added a front-page section of “Other Religion News” — which will offer a rich sampling of religion-related headlines from around the world. No, we can’t link to every one of the thousands of religion stories published each week, but, over time, we will use that new front-page category to highlight a handful of fascinating accounts.

And, of course, our members want to meet each other. We all want to know more about our colleagues who face similar professional challenges every single day.

Connection is a core value shared by all of our members. Whenever we meet and share our stories and our wisdom with each other, we hear from our members that this kind of reporting is very challenging. Not only is religious diversity a complex subject to understand, but it also is the source of rising controversy—and sometimes violence—around the world.

Thus, one of IARJ’s main goals is to build a global network of reporters and resources who share many of the same challenges and goals. To that end, you will see a “Meet Our Members,” section of our new website’s front page, which will include brief bios of journalists covering religion all over the world.  Over time, you will be able to virtually “meet” these members to exchange important ideas and to connect. Our members remain our most valuable resource—often encouraging and helping each other, especially through our conferences and through stories we share via this website.

A second resource will be the regular publication of reports from publications that gather invaluable information from multiple countries, including the Pew Research Center and ARDA (Association of Religion Data Archives).

For example, the Pew Research Center tracks the harassment of religious groups around the world and continues to report that such harassment-from legal limitations and verbal threats to physical acts of violence-is commonly suffered by at least some religious groups in the vast majority of countries around the world.

One of the valuable assets in our newly designed website will be occasional updates on Pew’s global research on religion—thanks to a new collegial connection with Pew’s staff.

You will find one such story on our new front page: Look for the new “Resources” section and you’ll see an information-packed report on Pew’s latest attempts to measure religious activity in China.

Also in the “Resources” section of our front page, you will find a new story about one of the powerful reporting tools provided by our colleagues at ARDA (the Association of Religion Data Archives), with which IARJ has had a longstanding and productive association.  

Right now, if you have not already done so, please sign up for our free email newsletters to see our monthly updates—including updates to our new “Resources” section, aimed at practical ways journalists can get solid data for their reporting

These global connections inspire all of us.

I know that each day I continue to work as a reporter, the examples of the IAR] colleagues I have met at our global conferences inspire me to be the best journalist I can be.

This new website design is dedicated to all of you, friends, around the world. May it better meet your needs and may we all feel stronger connections with each other.