New round of GetReligion ch-ch-ch-changes

printingpress 01We are creeping up on an interesting landmark here at GetReligion — Feb. 1 is the second anniversary of the birth of this blog. On one level this is not all that surprising, seeing as how we have already hit 1200-plus posts and more than 8,000 comments (and that’s just counting Michael, Stephen A. and Avram).

GetReligion started out with Doug LeBlanc and myself, and we were soon joined by young master Jeremy Lott. That honorary title was eventually handed over to Daniel Pulliam.

In the beginning, Doug was the guru of technology and did almost all of our start-up work. Over time, his work load has increased elsewhere and he has been writing less for the blog. Now he needs to take another step back, in part due to loads of international travel in the near future. Doug is not leaving the blog and will try, in particular, to keep sending us missives every now and then about the state of religion news in major magazines.

Thus, we face another round of changes as we approach that Feb. 1 signpost. We hope, for example, to rearrange and consolidate a few of the features on our left sidebar to help readers navigate more quickly within the growing contents of the blog. We’ll be asking readers for some feedback on that in the near future.

And with Doug writing less, we are excited to be adding the voice of another mainstream journalist to GetReligion.

Mollie Ziegler is a reporter in Washington, D.C., for the Federal Times, a Gannett newspaper that covers the ins and outs of the federal government. A second-career journalist, she began her reporting career in 2002 with a stint at Radio & Records. She began venturing into religion writing came a few months later with her first Houses of Worship column in the Wall Street Journal.

In 2004 she won a year-long Phillips Foundation Journalism Fellowship which enabled her to write a book about religion and politics in America, with a special emphasis on the changing language of faith in the public square. She stresses that GetReligion readers will be expected to buy multiple copies when it is published. Her work also has appeared in The New York Sun, Confessio Augustana, Higher Things and Doublethink.

Mollie’s undergraduate degree in economics was obtained at the University of Colorado, located in the alternative universe known as Boulder, Colo. She is a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Alexandria, Va., and serves on the Board for Communication Services of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Mollie — who lacks a GetReligion nickname at this time — will begin writing on or about Dec. 1st, but I hope she will write her own “what you need to know about me” post in the next few days. We all roam around the Godbeat a bit, but Mollie will pay special attention to religion writing outside the axis of the elite East and West Coast newspapers. Believe me, we know that we need to do more in this area.

Is is, at times, hard to find the work of religion reporters at newspapers that do not provide logical links and specialty pages on their websites. I have barked about this in the past and urged GetReligion readers to help us find more stories to praise and dissect. Mollie will be trying to crack some of these tough cyber-cases. We will also create, in the left sidebar index, an “All-Stars” category to salute fine religion writing wherever we find it, in markets large and small.

So welcome Mollie to the blog. She’s a live wire.

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • andy chamberlain

    I’m not in to positive discrimination, but there is something satisfying about learning that there will be some female input here, that’s good.

    BTW the link to Mollie, above, isn’t working just yet.

    Anyway, best wishes to Mollie and welcome from one reader from across the pond.

  • tmatt


    Believe me, we have approached female writers in the past. A number of times. We have also sought help from people overseas and on the West Coast.

    Blogging is such an interesting thing at this stage in the game. You either get it or you don’t. As a journalist, I read serious, content-oriented blogs all the time. I view them as a time-saver, since they contain viewpoints and info I would never see elsewhere. I don’t read what I call first-person-obsessive blogs.

    I apparently do not know how to do the click-on email link yet. We’ll get Mollie’s biography and email link online shortly.

  • Avram

    It’s just like a regular link, but you put as the URL. Unless your WordPress setup has some other funky way of doing it.

    There was something I saw yesterday that I thought you might find interesting, now I have to find it again. Ah, here, on “Professing Faith” by Karen Houppert, about Baylor University, a private Baptist university where Intelligent Design advocate William Dembski found himself less welcome than he’d expected.

  • Mollie

    I hear this Mollie reporter is witty and charming and wise.

  • tmatt

    And Mollie wears strange shoes, too. In a WALKING town, no less!

  • Stephen A.

    Since Avram just posted, I’ll make the 8,002nd post of the three of us and say: Welcome, Mollie!

  • Molly

    Welcome, Mollie!

    Is that your given name or a nickname?

  • Mollie


    It’s my given name. Well, it’s Mollie Kathleen actually. And you?

  • Molly

    Cool! Most “molly(ie)’s” that I know are actually Mary Ellen or Marguerite or something else. My folks went to see “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” by Meredith Wilson before I was born.

    That my given name was Molly Meredith is totally a coincidence, I am certain!

  • Michael

    Since both Avram and Stephen have posted, I feel I have an obligation to uphold my reputation as well. :) Welcome, Mollie. I’m a regular reader of the her “day job” publication.

    I’m curious, Matt, whether you’ve had any luck trying to attract contributors from mainline or even liberal religious traditions. All of the commentors have very conservative, traditional faith traditions (to the point that none of you attend a church that allows women to be ordained, except for Doug, who probably isn’t happy about it). Are there no Congregationalists or Unitarians or Reformed Jews working the Godbeat?

  • tmatt

    We are a conservative, traditional kind of blog. I have talked with one Orthodox Jewish writer, who did not have the time. There are other blogs that have that progressive theological perspective and we have discussed that fact with folks at the Revealer and Beliefnet. We are a coalition of ecumenical traditionalists, here.

    However, this blog also has no evangelical protestant voice, in the strictest sense. We have no yea! rah-rah megachurch! voice. We have Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Calvinist and Lutheran. Jeremy, of course, was Roman Catholic.

    I didn’t ask, but I think we are spit 50-50 now between registered GOPers and Democrats….

  • Michael

    Fair enough. Thanks for responding.