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'Bridging the Gap' update: methodology, acknowledgments
First Amendment Center

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:

Ryan Ashner
Autumn Baker
Chelsea Barker
Brenda Bryant
Lori Buhler
Austin Cagle
Jeannette Ceja
Dan Cleary
Danielle Costello
Chemeka Dabney
Brian Drinkwine
Krista Farmer
Anna Gervasi
Memry Gower
Christina Hagar
Lane Hagenau
Jessica Haines
Libby Hall
Matthew Haussler
Brandon Hood
William Johnson
Liz Kazeck
Ashley Kennedy
R.J. Knapp
Rebecca Neenan
Mary O’Neal
Elizabeth N. Osteen
Andrew Portwood
Chad Rinehart
Blair Rowan
Kevin Shultz
Britt Steele
Eric Stevens
Sara Taylor
Gail Warlick
Marissa Whelan
April Watkins
Kia White
Anesa Willoughby
Chelsea Wilson

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.



Related

Revisiting ‘Bridging the Gap: Religion and the News Media’
By Jimmy R. Allen Latest survey updating this study suggests both good, bad news. 04.02.07


Will the religion beat ever receive respect it deserves?
By Pam Parry Companion analysis of survey updating Bridging the Gap study. 04.02.07


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