In the past two weeks, we lost a pair of good ones. (Update—add Belief Beat to the list.) First, the Seeker, which had already gone through one major transition, went looking elsewhere. Then yesterday it was Nicole Neroulias’ Belief Beat. Now today, Gary Stern of Blogging Religiously says that he’s “signing off”:
I’m too busy covering education these days to give this blog anywhere near the attention it deserves. Plus, I’ve been off the religion beat long enough that I no longer have the insight or sources to offer a “New York point of view” on religion news.
I know some people found this blog from my “Faithbeat” Twitter account. I set up that account while I was still covering religion full-time (and when I was writing a weekly column called “FaithBeat.”) I linked the Twitter account to my blog—but also intended to Tweet religion news. But then I lost the religion beat and the Twitter thing never got going.
The end of Blogging Religiously is even sadder if you think about how this reflects on ongoing changes in the news business.
It used to be that every newspaper had a weekly religion page and many had multiple reporters assigned to the religion beat. Then, just as religion pages were dying, newspapers (about a decade late) discovered blogs and many encouraged religion reporters to start religion blogs. When those papers later killed their religion beat, they often still had a newly assigned reporter who could keep up the religion blog.
But as Stern’s story shows, even that’s not sustainable in many situations.