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May 2, 2019

You Made a Difference in the Way Journalists Report

The Muslim Ban. Christ Church. State level Anti-Muslim legislation. Reporting on American Muslim communities and the issues that impact them has never been more challenging. That is why, your partnership has been vital!  

On March 18, ISPU brought together nearly 25 journalists for a full day of learning about covering American Muslims creatively and confidently. We paired journalists with scholars for a full day of interactive presentations and activities, including a wealth of information on demographics, sharia, gender, race, and ideologically motivated violence. Participants represented a variety of outlets, including the Chicago Tribune, ProPublica Illinois, and WBEZ Chicago public radio, and some even traveled from Wisconsin and Indiana to attend. Each participating journalist received a copy of our toolkit for journalists. “I left the workshop more informed and more conscientious of my actions, thoughts and work about and with Muslims.” That is how one participant summed up the day. 

Indeed, the workshop is already making a difference. One reporter from Wisconsin Public TV connected with an ISPU scholar who presented that day to create a full news segment on understanding what is and isn't sharia. One newsroom requested additional copies of our toolkit so they could conduct their own in-office training for their full newsroom. A reporting team focused on race and culture at WBEZ, Chicago's NPR affiliate, attended the training as a full group. Can you imagine the change in their coverage now that they have a whole new set of sources and tools?

The impact cascades through newsrooms -- each journalist we reach reaches others in their orbit with thoughtful edits, advice, and guidance. We want coverage of American Muslims to be reflective of who we know they really are -- and trainings like this help us get there. We can't do any of this without you. Thank you for your support!

Feb 26, 2019

We took MAP to Hollywood

Though Muslims on screen and television have come a long way thanks to the work of great Muslim creatives and their allies, we still have a long way to go to seeing more nuanced and diverse Muslim characters on screen. So, when one of our partners invited ISPU to come to Hollywood to share our research, we jumped at the chance to participate in a panel. The panel, speaking to 100 screenwriters and show runners at NBCUniversal was moderated by actress America Ferrera and included news commentator and author, Van Jones. Among the research we shared was our Muslims for American Progress (MAP) work, that you empowered us to conduct. In sharing MAP, we offered solutions, by providing a key source for inspiration for rich, humanizing characters that go beyond the "Bad Muslim Terrorist" or "Good FBI Informant." It was a thrill to see how our work could be applied in this critical sector to expand the conversation on Muslim images in popular media.  All thanks to you! Did someone in that room get inspired that day to create a character we can recognize as ourselves? We hope so. What we do know is that they now have an addition tool available to them to make that possible.

And, if that weren’t enough, we have 8 MAP exhibits scheduled for the first half of this year in Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Utah and New York. And the demand for the MAP traveling exhibits is only increasing, These exhibits are a great opportunity for audiences nationwide to interact with the stories and the data. What we love most about MAP is that it integrates research with the human experience and brings people together on a journey to understanding, compassion, and truth sharing.

 We have also held several dissemination events, during which project experts are joined with MAP project participants to share the research results as well as their own stories with the audience. These events enable us to dive deeper into the data and examine additional dimensions of the study. For example, through MAP, we honor Black History Month by taking a closer look at the contribution of Black Muslims in making of  Upper Manhattan.

Lastly, MAP has been cited in multiple media outlets, just recently our data was picked up in an article by New York Times. We are grateful to you, for enabling us to interject accurate data into conversations both in local communities and on national levels. Thank you.

Feb 4, 2019

Resources for Journalists Across the Country

Thank you for caring about facts and journalistic integrity. Because of you, ISPU can continue to provide media professionals with the tools they need to accurately, confidently and fairly cover Muslims in America and the issues that impact upon them. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. A recent wave of layoffs at Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, and Gannett is just the latest in a trend of job losses that mean journalists are being asked to cover more and more… with less resources. We think it’s crucial that shrinking newsroom budgets don’t lead to less or more biased coverage of American Muslims, because studies show that inaccurate media has already negatively influenced the attitudes of everyday Americans toward their Muslim neighbors.

The need for better, more accurate training is great, which is why we’re excited that the day-long workshop for journalists that you have empowered us to implement this March in Chicago is nearly upon us! Participants will receive everything they need to cover American Muslims creatively and confidently, including new angles for when breaking news strikes about violence, definitions for terminology that is often misused, our extensive journalists toolkit, and direct connections with scholars for future stories. They’ll also attend expert-led modules, such as “Shariah: Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask” and “An Evidence-Based Look at Covering National Security and Ideologically Motivated Violence.”

In the meantime, as we plan the training, we continue to serve as an important resource for journalists across the country. Recently, we connected with a journalist who turned to us as an expert source while writing a piece about the first Muslim women in Congress for a major national magazine. She found our help so valuable, that she decided to do a profile of ISPU for a journalism trade magazine, so that even more journalists can find and use our vast archive of research and resources.

None of this would have been possible without your visionary and generous support, , so thank you!

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