Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The most recent edition on the Journal of Media and Religion has featured 2 very interesting articles concerning religion and the internet. Below are links to these articles with brief summaries:

1. "Nonprofit Religious Organization Web Sites: Underutilized Avenue of Communicating with Group Members", written by Melissa Smith. This article suggests that nonprofit religious organizations do not take full advantage of its website's capabilities. For example, Smith found that religious organizations do not hire marketing professionals to aide in the website creation/upkeep, they do not track the number of visitors to the website, and they do not use the website as a recruiting tool for the organization. Additionally, Smith writes that religious organizations use other forms of technology to contact members instead of websites.

2. "The Use of Internet Communication by Catholic Congregations: A Quantitative Study", written by Lorenzo Cantoni and Slawomir Zyga. This article is a result of a study which attempted to measure internet usage among all Catholic religious groups and autonomous organizations worldwide. Based on the answers received, Cantoni and Zyga assert that centralized institutions utilize the internet to a higher degree than autonomous institutions. Within centralized institutions, a difference is noted between male and female groups. The article also presents proposals for this trend.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Church Website Design Project

Hello, my name is Lauren Gross and I am currently working as Dr. Campbell's research assistant. I will be posting helpful sites/information from time to time on Dr. Campbell's blog, so I hope the following is of use to you!

The Church Website Design Project is a company with a target market of Christian groups. The role of an employee is to consult with a church representative, learn an individual church's needs, and produce effective web communication. The creators developed this service because "As Christians we are taught to believe in the importance of spreading the Word and the ministry of our Church. This is why we have established, with clergy and church members from across the UK providing a wealth of support, the Church Website Design Project. All of us who work on this Project have a variety of backgrounds in the world of work, and worldly experience, but we all share a common goal: celebrating and communicating the faith, ministry and Word of God." Please click here if you would like to visit the website.

To better understand the project, here are the vision and values listed on the website:

- Promoting the internet as a means to extend fellowship and ministry.
- Encourage clergy and church leaders to identify the potential in developing an online church community.
- Provide support and advice on ways that the internet can enhance the work of your church community.
- Identify opportunities for not only sharing your church with the global community, but also to develop a new way to communicate with the local community.
- Sustain and develop the fellowship that exists within your churches, parishes and church groups.
- Support clergy and church members to improve existing websites, offering advice and consultation.
- Share the love and word of God and the teachings of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Upcoming conference

After a long hiatus from posting I am back...

2008 looks set to be an interesting year for exploring religion and the media, with 3 international conference coming up.

July 10-12, 2008 the "New Media and Religious Transformations in Africa" conference will be hosted in Abuja, Nigeria. The main goal of this conference is to cast a critical look at Africa's rapidly evolving religious media scene. It is particularly interested in the challenges of balancing freedom of expression and freedom of religion and belief in Africa’s fast-growing media sector. The conference is spearheaded by several international scholars including Rosalind Hackett from University of Tennessee & president of the International Association for the History of Religions, whom I have known for almost a decade as scholar doing interesting and important work on religion in Africa. Check out their Call for Papers. If my travel plans for the summer weren't so tight I think this would be a great conference to check out.

August 11-14, 2008 the Sixth International Conference on Media, Religion, and Culture on "Dialogues in Diversity" will be hosted in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I have been to several of these previous conferences in Scotland, Sweden & the USA which aim to be international and interdisciplinary event engaging about critical questions of the interactions between religion and the media. The Call for Papers deadline is March 31st. I will defintely be at this one.

And in November 9-12, 2008 the Second International Conference on Religion and Media will be held in Iran. I do not know much about this conference but good friends Lynn S Clark & Stewart Hoover attended the first one as guest speakers and found it a facinating experience.

So get out your passport and consider joining one of these international gatherings!