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God and the Press

UC Riverside’s Holstein Public Lecture Takes on the Clash Between Religion and the Press

Panelists include NPR’s Ina Jaffe, a scholar from Denmark and The Press-Enterprise religion reporter

(November 28, 2006)

Ina Jaffe, NPR correspondent

Ina Jaffe, NPR correspondent

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- The potentially explosive interplay between religion and the press is the subject of a panel discussion at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30 at UC Riverside. The panel features National Public Radio correspondent Ina Jaffe; a religion scholar from Denmark, Tim Jenson; and the local religion reporter for The Press-Enterprise, Bettye Wells Miller.

"Offending Religions and Press Freedom in the Public Square" is the title of the 2006-2007 Holstein Family Community Lecture in Religious Studies, an annual event at UC Riverside. This one will take place in Conference Room E at the UC Riverside Extension Center.

“With the title of the panel, I intentionally meant to suggest both that religions can offend as well as be the object of offense,” said Ivan Strenski, professor of religion at UC Riverside and the holder of the Holstein endowed chair. “This year I wanted to stir things up a little, with a topic that would be relevant to everyone.”

He said the discussion will center on what it is to give offense, and what are the proper limits of offensive behavior, and when is it a person’s duty to offend? One example is the clash between the journalistic instincts of a Danish editorial cartoonist and the religious sensibilities of the Muslim world after the publication of an editorial cartoon lampooning Mohammed.

The event is free and open to the public. A reception for the panelists will begin at 4:30 p.m. Parking permits are available for $3 at the Extension Center lot.

Biographies of the Panelists:

Ina Jaffe is a Los-Angeles-based correspondent for National Public Radio. She has reported on thousands of major news events, including New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the war in Kosovo and the Persian Gulf, and the historic recall election that brought Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to power. Jaffe received the California Journalism Award for covering politics and government in 2002 and 2003. Before moving to Los Angeles, Jaffe was the first editor of Weekend Edition Saturday with Scott Simon which made its debut in 1985. She earned the Clarion award from Women in Communications for her report on the first night of the Los Angeles riots; and her coverage played a role in NPR capturing the “Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University “Gold Baton” in 1992. She also shared a 1988 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for the NPR report "A State of Emergency," which covered racial conflict in Philadelphia. Jaffe was born in Chicago and attended the University of Wisconsin and DePaul University receiving bachelors and masters degrees in philosophy.

Tim Jensen is a historian of religions, educated as an upper-secondary teacher in Religious Education. He is Associate Professor at The Institute of Philosophy, Education and The Study of Religions at the University of Southern Denmark, Odense.

Bettye Wells Miller is religion reporter at The Press-Enterprise. She has worked in journalism in Southern California for 33 years as a reporter, editor, freelancer and university instructor. Miller has worked for the Redlands Daily Facts, The San Bernardino County Sun and The Desert Sun. In 2005 she was one of 10 finalists for the Templeton Reporter Award of the Religion Newswriters Association.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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