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Religion coverage doubles in media

Media coverage of religion doubled in 2010, soaring even higher in the blogosphere.

The Roman Catholic church was bumped from its dominant spot in mainstream religion news in 2010, replaced by Islam.

Much of the coverage of Islam in the U.S. focused on the plan to build a mosque and Islamic center near ground zero in New York City, a Florida pastor’s threat to organize a public burning of the Koran and commemorations of the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Stories about these three Muslim-related events collectively accounted for more than 40% of all religion-related coverage studied in mainstream U.S. media (broadcast and cable television, newspapers, radio and major news websites).

"Mainstream media devoted more attention to religion in 2010 than in any year since the Pew Research Center began measuring coverage of religion and other subjects in 2007," the highly respected, well-funded, non-partisan Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life said in a news release.

"The amount of space or time media devoted to religion doubled between 2009 and 2010, going from about one per cent of total coverage to two per cent. And for the first time since tracking began in 2007, neither the Catholic Church nor religion’s role in American politics were the No. 1 topic of religion coverage in major news outlets."


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