Talking With Us or At Us: How U.S. Religious Denominations Use Organizational Web Sites to Communicate With Their Constituents

John Wirtz, Prisca S. Ngondo, Philip Poe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study presents the results of a content analysis of the organizational Web sites of a unique subset of nonprofit organizations, that is, prominent U.S.-based religious denominations affiliated with the National Council of Churches and the National Association of Evangelicals. The study was guided by Kent and Taylor's (1998, 2002) dialogic theory and their framework for dialogic communication as it is applied to organizational Web sites. While all of the denominations had active Web sites, we found that with a few notable exceptions, the denominations did not demonstrate dialogic communication principles in their Web sites. Instead, most Web sites demonstrated one-way communication by focusing on pushing out information to Web site visitors. Many of the Web sites did provide useful information for ministers and members and adherents, but there was little effort to accommodate the needs of members of the media. Many of the denominations were active on social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, but once again these sites were used mostly to provide information rather than to engage in dialogue. We also found that, in general, denominations affiliated with the National Association of Evangelicals were more likely to include information related to proselytizing new members than Web sites of National Council of Churches affiliates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-180
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Media and Religion
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Religious studies

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