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Henrik Reintoft Christensen

Abstract

The chapter examines religion and news media research in order to discuss the most pertinent challenges in research on religion in the news. Four such issues are identified and discussed. The first is the inherent methodological nationalism in news production which is inform uncritically accepted and used in research as well. A critical analysis of religious diversity in the news need to realise and reflect on the formatting logic of the nation state. The second issue is the nature of the media systems in which the news on religious diversity is produced. Critical research need to take into account the specific features of the media systems they examine. The third issue is the political environment in which news on religious diversity is produced. The historical relationship between state and church or between politics and religion is an important dimension for the way religion is perceived in society and it is often necessary to know how particular secularisms have emerged and how they format the role of religion in society. Finally, the chapter argues that religion is a final issue to address in a critical analysis. At its most basic, there is often little agreement on what counts as religion in research on media. Additionally, religions that explicitly encourages values that are perceived as deviant in society will necessarily be covered differently in the news than religions who emphasize values that are congruent with societal values in general. The chapter encourages researchers to engage critically with these issues in projects that examine the actual media coverage of religious diversity.