Voices and Visions to sponsor media workshop

“Uncovering Islam: Representing, Reporting, and Responsibilities” is free and for working journalists, journalism students and communication scholars. It will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday at the Bloomington Convention Center, 302 S. College Ave.
The workshop is meant to give journalists a better understanding of Muslim culture and to focus on how the media portray Muslims and their culture for the public.

Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. with the programs and speakers starting at 10 a.m. Lunch will be provided.

Guest speakers include Faiz Rahman, Islamic Center of Bloomington president, Robert King, a religion reporter at the Indianapolis Star, and keynote speaker Jamie Tarabay, a National Public Radio correspondent. Tarabay reported from Iraq for two years and is now working on a project reporting on America’s Muslims, according to NPR’s Web site.

Rosemary Pennington, Voices and Visions program coordinator and second-year graduate student, said she believes the media play a big role in how Muslims and Muslim culture are portrayed, and said she hopes the workshop will prevent some stereotypes and misconceptions.

“We are hoping to knock down stereotypes,” she said. “The media can perpetuate stereotypes, and we have been hoping to break that cycle.”

Pennington also said this workshop will help the journalists and students who attend gain a level of understanding so when they are confronted with a story or situation regarding Muslims, they are better prepared.

“It’s always good to have a starting point,” she said. “This workshop is going to give the basics on Muslims, and what you get are some tools to help you better gauge the situation.”

Voices and Visions was established with a grant from the Social Science Research Council, which hopes to organize groups regarding Islam on campuses across America. Voices and Visions uses podcasts, events, workshops and blogs to help promote a better understanding of Islam on campus and in the community. The organization also has ties to areas throughout America and worldwide with its podcasts and art exhibits.

The organization is partnered with various IU organizations along with community organizations such as the Islamic Center of Bloomington.

Hilary Kahn, Voices and Visions co-director, said she believes Friday’s workshop will help encompass everything for which the organization stands.

“The workshop is to provide information about Islam and an opportunity to understand the complexities of Islam, as well as create a dialogue about Muslims and Islam,” she said.

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