We’re on the cutting edge of covering spiritual media — and global trends as faith shapes daily life. Two weeks ago, in our Asian series, we reported on powerful movements among younger people. We were amazed to find 2 stories on the NYTimes front page Sunday, reporting essentially the same theme.
The 1A lead story was from Egypt — on young people frustrated by economic and cultural pressures, “in their frustration … turning to religion for solace and purpose.” That’s exactly what we reported from Asia 2 weeks ago. (The Times series is shaping up as a fascinating examination of these issues in the Islamic world. But, our critique on this Times story is that it’s myopic in suggesting this is mainly a Muslim trend. Our stories pointed out it’s true of young people from many faiths around the world.)
The 2nd story on 1A Sunday was about the power of books to inspire the young from many cultures. Great reading “resonates powerfully among urban adolescents” especially in minority communities. To this story, we say: Hey, we told you so!
(We want to thank the East-West Center, where I’m a journalism fellow, for enabling the work that I, and 7 other senior journalists from the U.S., were able to do in Asia in January! All too often, American journalists — who are unable to travel very far these days — tend to go to news “hot spots” like the Middle East. When one travels farther afield, as the East-West Center encouraged us to do in January, one discovers that more limited trends — like a youthful revival in Islam — are actually part of far larger global trends. Thanks to colleagues at East-West!)
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