Campus News

March 25, 2011

Take Note

Religion professor's online magazine gets boost for coverage of Islam, LGBT issues

Grants totaling $200,000 have been awarded to online magazine Religion Dispatches (RD)  to boost coverage of Islam and issues related to religion and sexuality.

RD is based at Emory.

RD received $100,000 for a collaborative project in partnership with the American Academy of Religion to:

• Hire a contributing editor and scholars of Islam to write for the magazine

• Create workshops to train scholars of Islam on the new media landscape

• Create a media database

• Hold joint meetings for scholars of Islam, journalists and media specialists

Gary Laderman, chair of the Department of Religion in Emory College of Arts and Sciences and director of the project, says, "Our goal is to help create a culture of public engagement by scholars of Islam that will be sustained well beyond the terms of the grant."

A second grant of $100,000 to RD from the Arcus Foundation will support expanding the range of writers and bloggers covering religion and sexuality for the magazine, says Laderman.

RD also will develop communications strategies to widen the audiences.

Ultimately, says Laderman, the goal is "to help influence public perspectives and social attitudes about the relationship between religion and sexuality, specifically the religious commitments and values of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) individuals."

Four of RD's 10 most popular pages in 2010 were LGBT stories. The most popular single page of 2009 was a story on marriage equality, receiving more than 100,000 hits.

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