The First Amendment Center sponsored the 2005 survey of religion news coverage in U.S. newspapers, undertaken by Prof. Pam Parry at Belmont University, and 40 students in two general-education courses titled God in the News.
Parry and the student researchers revised a survey first conducted in 1999. The revised survey was mailed to newspaper editors, who were asked to complete the written survey and return it by mail. The First Amendment Center provided financial support to mail 1,464 surveys to those on the American Society of Newspaper Editors’ mailing list during September 2005. The center also called on one of the original authors, Jimmy Allen, to analyze and write an update of the new data, which was compiled by 40 of my students. The 25-question survey was based on the 2000 instrument. As of December 2005, 224 newspapers had responded to the survey. Not all respondents answered all questions, and the survey has a plus-or-minus 7% margin of error.
The students compiled the data as part of a class project. Belmont students involved in the project include:
Elizabeth N. Osteen
Belmont University student worker Keri Hemingway also compiled data and worked on the mailing even though she was not a member of the class. Special thanks to Belmont’s Bonnie Wagonfield for spearheading the logistics of the mailing and helping to make it happen so smoothly. The returned survey forms were retained and are kept on file at the university.