1st Edition

Reporting Islam International best practice for journalists

By Jacqui Ewart, Kate O'Donnell Copyright 2018
    162 Pages
    by Routledge

    162 Pages
    by Routledge

    Reporting Islam argues for innovative approaches to media coverage of Muslims and their faith. The book examines the ethical dilemmas faced by Western journalists when reporting on this topic and offers a range of alternative journalistic techniques that will help news media practitioners move away from dominant news values and conventions when reporting on Islam.

    The book is based on an extensive review of international literature and interviews with news media editors, copy-editors, senior reporters, social media editors, in-house journalism trainers and journalism educators, conducted for the Reporting Islam Project. In addition, the use of an original model – the Transformative Journalism Model – provides further insight into the nature of news reports about Muslims and Islam. The findings collated here help to identify the best and worst reporting practices adopted by different news outlets, as well as the factors which have influenced them. Building on this, the authors outline a new strategy for more accurate, fair and informed reporting of stories relating to Muslims and Islam.

    By combining an overview of different journalistic approaches with real-world accounts from professionals and advice on best practice, journalists, journalism educators and students will find this book a useful guide to contemporary news coverage of Islam.

    Preface: An evidence-based ethical approach to reporting Islam and Muslim people 1. Setting the scene: laws, ethical codes and the knowledge gap – key aspects of reporting Islam either unknown or misunderstood by Western journalists 2. The problems and effects: international studies on media coverage of Islam and the potential implications 3. Journalists’, educators' and Muslims’ views on the reportage of Islam and Muslims 4. International best practice in ethical reporting of Islam: key findings from Europe, North America and Australia 5. Theoretical frameworks for analysing media coverage of Islam: Orientalism, Islamophobia and racism frames 6. Models for more ethical coverage: Inclusive journalism, peace journalism and mindful journalism 7. Case study, 'If you build it they will come’: selected news media coverage of mosques and best practice in navigating such a story 8. Case study: Reporting radicalization, terror incidents and arrests 9. Case study: Muslim or migrant? – conflating religion and the refugee 10. Case study: Reporting sharia and halal 11. Case study: Reporting cultural issues: marriage, head dress and female genital mutilation 12. International approaches to curricula and resources 13. Conclusion: Implementing and monetizing mindful and inclusive approaches – production and audience considerations


    Jacqui Ewart is a former journalist and Professor at Griffith University, Australia. She researches news media representations of Muslims and disasters communication. She is the co-author and author of several books about news media coverage of Muslims and has published widely in related international journals.

    Kate O’Donnell is the Reporting Islam Project’s Principal Research Fellow based at Griffith University, Australia. She is a career public servant turned academic whose research interests also include terrorism, policing and critical infrastructure resilience.

    ‘This book presents a compelling structure for studying and advancing the coverage of Islam. It combines scholarly interests with a real sensitivity to the pressures facing both individual journalists and the journalism industry.’

    Fred Vultee, Associate Professor of Journalism, Wayne State University, USA

    ‘Urgent and timely, this book advances existing research on the reporting of Islam by offering solutions to its findings.’

    Elizabeth Poole, Programme Director in Media, Communications and Culture, Keele University, UK

    ‘A fine book. A pro-active book. A book that creates a new model of journalism to intervene, to challenge and to question. Working through the complex layering of otherness in journalism, alongside the pressure to summon workable narratives under time pressures, Ewart and O'Donnell create a new way of summoning evidence, developing interpretations and presenting complex ideas. This book is rare. It is practical but also high theory. It is interventionist, but never summons the subjectivity that would weaken the argument. In a time of fake news, Ewart and O'Donnell are the scholars to teach all of us to look widely and deeply for evidence, and evaluate the consequences of our choices.’

    Tara Brabazon, Dean of Graduate Research and Professor of Cultural Studies, Flinders University, Australia