Murrow dean releases free digital primer: Islam for Journalists

islam-book-80PULLMAN, Wash. – Local general assignment reporters covering stories involving Islam and Muslims have a new resource that’s just a mouse click away.

“Islam for Journalists: A Primer on Covering Muslim Communities in the U.S.” presents the work of top academic experts on Islam in a form accessible to working journalists. It includes essays by reporters from The New York Times, the Tennessean and other news organizations who have covered local stories involving Muslims in the U.S.

Islam For Journalists
Islam For Journalists

“Islam is now a story on Main Street USA, and just as they need the basics of business and politics, general assignment reporters these days also need to have a place they can quickly get up to speed on Islam if a story breaks,” said the project’s lead editor, Lawrence Pintak, a former CBS News Middle East correspondent and founding dean of The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University.

Former Chicago Tribune Middle East correspondent Stephen Franklin was co-editor of the project, which was funded by the Social Science Research Council – an independent, not-for-profit international organization that seeks to advance social science throughout the world – and the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Experts contributing to the book include Robert W. Hefner of Boston University, Carl Ernst and Charles Kurzman of the University of North Carolina, Karam Dana and Philip Howard of the University of Washington and other scholars, along with journalists such as Andrea Elliott of The New York Times and Shereen El Feki, formerly of The Economist.

The primer is “an invaluable resource for journalists covering Islam, whether in their local community, nationally or overseas,” said Peter Bhatia, editor and vice president of The Oregonian and Oregon Media Group, who has supervised coverage of several major local stories involving Muslims.  “Frankly, this book is of value to anyone, given the still prevalent misunderstanding in this country of Muslims and their faith.”

“Understanding the basics of Islam is a must for all reporters, not just foreign correspondents or world affairs pundits,” said Los Angeles Times columnist Doyle McManus. “This book is an invaluable starting point for journalists who want to understand one of America’s fastest-growing religions.”

“This book is a must-read for journalists who need to get up to speed and feel confident that they can tell the right story about a growing interest in many communities,” said Mike Gugliotto, president and CEO, Pioneer News Group Co., a chain of newspapers in in the Northwest.

The book is a sequel to a Poynter Institute course produced by the same team, Covering Islam in America.

Islam for Journalists was designed and produced as an e-book by Roger Fidler at the University of Missouri’s Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI). It joins a growing collection of e-books produced at the RJI for the Center for Public Integrity, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Tampa Bay Times and other news organizations.

Click here to download the free e-book.



Lawrence Pintak, The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, Washington State University, 509-335-8535,