TO: Tom Froehlich
Dan Roland
Don Wicks

FROM: Jan Leach
RE: Research memo
DATE: Jan. 22, 2010

Here are the notes from our “Religion and Ethics” faculty retreat discussion group. It was a pleasure meeting all of you. I look forward to some collaboration in the future.
Please send me any ideas, additions or deletions you would suggest for this memo.


n JMC and SLIS/IAKM will explore possible collaboration and guest lecture exchanges in ethics courses.
n Tom and Jan will trade syllabi for their current ethics courses and will discuss appropriate materials (such as case studies) and resources (such as research papers) that can be used jointly.
n NEXT: Contact Greg Byerly about the SLIS Media Literacy course to see if there are areas of common interest between JMC and information fluency.


n Group discussion of the SLIS research on Interpretation of Information and whether there are any parallels between sermon texts and editorial decisions.
-- What are the parallels between religion and journalism in terms of interpretation of text? Are clergy motivated more by particular points of view? Are journalists motivated by personal or professional points of view?
-- How would/could this frame the discussion of journalistic objectivity?
n Group discussed possible joint research ideas:
-- Analyze the interpretation of the coming State of the Union address? (It was generally agreed that Wednesday’s speech is too soon to get this research under way, but that we will look for other major national events that we could use for this type of survey research.)
-- In trying to determine the interpretation of information we would need to develop a sample pool of newspapers, TV broadcasts and/or Web sites to analyze, code and evaluate. (We determined that we would NOT use TV news scripts. We should decide what kinds of newspapers to examine; e.g. major markets, small markets, geographic areas, etc.)
-- The goal of such research needs to be more clearly defined, but loosely it would seek to show differences in what editors receive, choose to publish, and reject. What do they focus on? Why? What are the outcomes?
-- Ideally, there would be some insight and parallels between this kind of interpretation research and Dan and Don’s sermon research. What might we expect? What methodology would/could be used?
n NEXT: Set up a wiki so that we can share ideas, resources, Web links, etc. (Dan offered to do this.)