Jewish Journal


January 28, 2010

The Godbeat is dying


The Godbeat is dying. Sadly, that’s one reason I left. But it’s affecting others, and I need to look no further than Twitter for evidence of this. It was there this month that I learned hallowed religion writer Cathleen Falsani had lost her column for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Falsani was just the latest in a long line of religion writers to lose their gigs. If you think newspapers have taken a beating in the last five years, the Godbeat has been decimated. As we GetReligionistas often discuss, the press just doesn’t get religion—and editors have often seen religion reporters as non-essential:

Indeed. These are interesting times for the religion beat. As Christianity Today’s Ted Olsen joked, “Last one on religion beat please turn out the lights!” He did find a bright side, too—all of these departures will certainly mean less predictable Religion Newswriter Association awards.

Indeed, it’s gotten bad enough that Freakonomics co-author Stephen J. Dubner picked up on the “trend”—a real trend, not one of those three-example myths—on his blog for The New York Times:

This hardly means that religion will no longer be covered at those institutions, but that’s an awful lot of high-end human capital to leave one beat in a short time. I wonder what kind of religion articles we won’t be reading in the future as a result.

Read the rest here.

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