Tidings of comfort and joy

spotHappy news abounds here in GetReligion-land. First of all, we are only days away (perhaps even hours) from being able to roll out the new design for the website. I am not sure when the tech crew at Pierpoint Design & Branding will push launch, but it should be very soon. It’s a very clean, newsy look that should make the site even easier to read and use. This has been a long time coming.

I am also happy to report that you will be seeing the byline of GetReligion founding editor Douglas LeBlanc more often. Doug is a religion-beat professional who has worked in mainstream media and in the news division of the evangelical Mecca (is that a mixed metaphor) called Christianity Today. He is currently working on the website of NBC12 in Richmond, Va.

For the past year or so, the Rt. Rev. LeBlanc has been helping us out with some editing duties, but not writing very often. Starting this month, he is going to be writing for us more often — focusing on religion news in magazines, digital and analog — and doing mucho editing for us and for the future website of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life (temp pages are here).

In many ways, Doug is the institutional memory of GetReligion on the tech side of the fence and it’s a comfort and a joy to know that he can help us out more in the future. At the very least, you can look forward to his dry, twisted headlines. And if I have to explain Spot the Cat, then you haven’t been reading this blog since the early days.

In addition to editing and a few posts every week, LeBlanc will also be involved in a new occasional feature here that will begin soon called 5Q+1. The goal is talk to journalists whose work involves religious issues and events, whether they are assigned to the Godbeat or not. We hope to ask a few basic questions and create a file of the answers. You may recall that the rough draft of the questions went something like this:

(1) Where do you like to get your news about religion?

(2) What is the most important religion story right now that you think the mainstream media just don’t get?

(3) What is the story that you’ll be watching carefully in the next year or two?

(4) Why is it important for journalists to understand the role of religion in our world today?

(5) What’s the funniest, most ironic twist that you’ve seen in a religion news story lately?

And the +1 or “fill in the blanks” question is: Do you have anything else you want to tell us about religion coverage in the mainstream news media?

Please use this thread to welcome Doug back, if you will, and leave us suggestions for who we should call or email to chat in this upcoming feature.

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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.

  • http://blidiot.blogspot.com/ Raider51

    It will be good to see more from Doug again.

    tmatt writes,

    …the evangelical Mecca (is that a mixed metaphor) called Christianity Today.

    I recall (quite awhile ago) an article (in CT, Carol Stream, IL) on the Chicago area and the ministries and parachurch ministries which operate there, titled “Vatican II.”

  • http://paulamooney.blogspot.com Paula Mooney

    (1) Where do you like to get your news about religion? Via the net.

    (2) What is the most important religion story right now that you think the mainstream media just don’t get?http://paulamooney.blogspot.com/2007/02/is-secret-anti-christian.html

    (3) What is the story that you’ll be watching carefully in the next year or two? The Secret, those 666 tattoos on those church members: http://paulamooney.blogspot.com/2007/03/666-tattoo-on-church-members-jesus-of.html

    (4) Why is it important for journalists to understand the role of religion in our world today?
    Because we shape the world’s thought patterns…

    (5) What’s the funniest, most ironic twist that you’ve seen in a religion news story lately?
    Um, maybe the Jesus tomb fakery?

    And the +1 or “fill in the blanks” question is:

    Do you have anything else you want to tell us about religion coverage in the mainstream news media?
    It’s all filled with reporter bias; no matter how objective they say they are!

    Paula Mooney

  • Irenaeus

    What’s with the cat? I love cats.

  • Jill C.

    Welcome back, Doug! It will be good to read more of your observations and musings here.

    Bill Murchison might be a good person to call or e-mail for 5Q+1.

  • http://conblogeration.blogspot.com Pastor Jeff

    Welcome back, Doug. I’ll look forward to hearing from you, as I also am an Episcopalian by birth and upbringing and an evagelical Protestant by choice.

    tmatt — I was confused by the use of “Rt. Rev.” Was that simply a nod to Doug’s Episcopal background?

  • Karen V

    I do NOT like the new format. The contrast is low, the print is way too small and those of us with old eyes simply miss all kinds of things, even with reading glasses.

    Plus the older style was more dynamic, and attractive.

    Please change back!

  • Jill C.

    Pastor Jeff,
    I believe it’s something of an inside joke. Doug is not a bishop, but having met him once and having read his stuff since he used to write for Episcopalians United and for World Magazine, I think he’d probably make a better Episcopal or Anglican bishop than some of those purple-shirted guys! ;)


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