Revista Studii Teologice


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"Reflectarea evenimentului religios în ediţiile on-line ale presei laice şi bisericeşti"

Religious events covered by on-line lay and church press

Autor(i): Pr. Nicolae DINU

Summary: Religious events covered by on-line lay and church press
Communication is a fundamental human activity, conveying symbols and messages that are essential for interpersonal relationships. Mass-media are not mere tools intended to convey and highlight messages, but they are also deeply involved in the communication process. Their goal is to substantiate the force of the communicated contents – the word and its culturalizing character. Virtual space and the expanding media sector have prompted a reconsideration of the attitude towards traditional media, on-line journalism determining the emergence of alternative ways of disseminating information, as well as a more dynamic relationship between journalists and their readership. The success of the Internet has also changed the way in which audiences perceive the news and interact with them. In order to inform the public correctly, a journalist must understand the context determining the meaning of a particular event, a context which may be a religious one.
The present study aims to highlight the construct of the religious reality by lay on-line press, versus church press, as well as the limitations of both approaches. It is a relevant issue since it addresses the informational value of news, as well as the importance of the religious realm to the readership. The study starts from the paradigm provided by the ritual pattern of communication, stressing the prevalence of interpersonal relation and shared emotions, over the mere conveyance of information. People use ritual communication in order to share, participate and be in communion with each other, while the world becomes a symbolical framework governing behaviours. Mass-media amplify the ritual manifestation elements, lending them greater symbolical force and social relevance. In this context, religious journalism is less about conveying information, and more about partaking of a religious view on the world, inviting the reader to assume a role within this world. The Christian feast, as a sacred time, determines a change in human behaviour, while the Church – a sacred space, gives new significance to time, which becomes sanctified, a time of salvation.
Starting from two research hypotheses, the analysis comprises two parts, a quantity analysis revealing the visibility and coverage of Orthodox religious events by on-line issues of the main quality Romanian lay newspapers – Adevărul, Evenimentul Zilei, Gândul, or church publications – Lumina newspaper, as well as a quality analysis of the journalistic profile rendered by the media coverage of this event. The study addresses the coverage of the feast of St. Demetrius the New, the patron saint of Bucharest, between 23-28 October 2009 and 23-29 October 2010. It approaches on-line news and articles, as well as the relationship between the monthly average number of readers of printed newspapers, versus the average number of sole customers of on-line editions of the same newspapers; the survey’s data have been taken from the site of the Romanian Audit Bureau of Circulation (BRAT – Biroul Roman de Audit al Tirajelor).
The analysis of religious events coverage in Romanian press evinces a number of specific trends: in the articles belonging to the on-line issues of the most widely read quality newspapers in Romania, the religious event is downplayed and regarded as banal occurrence; church mass-media still tends to produce events instead of reporting them, in its endeavour to maintain itself on a competitive market, alongside lay press. The results of this survey prove that, despite being promoted by both lay and church mass-media, the religious event is a fleeting presence, of no long-term interest to the readership, and fails to determine reconfiguration of either the media or the public agenda.

Pagini: pp. 109-134