By Eric Sumner, Freelance
Journalist Ira Rifkin covered a plethora of topics during a speech March 5 at Stamp Student Union, from Matthew McConaughey’s God reference at the Oscars to globalization’s effect on religion.
“I began to realize that religion was everywhere,” Rifkin said, referencing his beginnings as a religion reporter.
“In every subject I was getting involved in, there was a piece of religion as part of the story.”
Rifkin is a former national correspondent for Religion News Service and author of the book “Spiritual Perspectives on Globalization: Making Sense of Economic and Cultural Upheaval.”
Rifkin told aspiring journalism students to respect dissimilar perspectives when covering religion issues.
“My view is that everybody’s world view comes out of a religious cultural background,” he said.
Rifkin teaches a religion reporting class titled the religion angle at the university. However, he does not aim to turn his students into religion writers.
Rifkin said he aims to create sports writers, political writers, business writers and entertainment writers, who will conduct themselves properly when confronted with different religious points of view.
The Office of Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy, a campus organization that promotes multiculturalism, diversity and social justice, sponsored the lunch event.
“Professor Rifkin is a great campus resource for students interested in spiritual diversity and interfaith programs and understanding,” Hanna Moerland, a MICA representative said.
Moerland coordinated the event and led the discussion with professor Rifkin.
When asked about how he got into journalism, Rifkin said he was shy growing up and thought journalism would help him become a more confident communicator.
To add, Rifkin jested he simply was not good at anything else. He became a full-time religion journalist in 1985.
Rifkin also discussed the current state of journalism and online reporting.
“There’s so much noise out there that to be heard, you have to be outrageous,” Rifkin said. “I don’t think there’s as much critical control and self-awareness as there used to be in the world.”
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