The unbroken circle

Apollonian_circlesIt hardly seems possible that it’s been a year since tmatt was giving me pointers on how to write for GetReligion. There was so much I had to learn — and although I’ve learned a lot, I haven’t learned everything, by any means. Sometimes I read the work of my GetReligion colleagues and wonder how they make it appear so easy.

Have fun, tmatt advised me when I began. Well, I have had a lot of fun this past year. I found that I really enjoy trolling the newspapers and other media for stories about religion. Sometimes the stories showed a lack of feeling for the language of religion — there were times, as you know, when there would be amazing howlers. Other times journalists either didn’t include the religious angle of a story or subtly tweaked it to lead the reader.

But as or more often, I found that journalists, who grapple with the mandate to tell a complex tale in a very short news hole, revealed empathy for the work and words of the spirit. Sometimes their work brought tears to my eyes. I greatly appreciate having the chance to examine the wonderful reporting done by so many colleagues all over this country — and the world.

In all of this, I was reminded that as much as I enjoy blogging, I am a journalist. I am painfully aware as I write that there are many sides of a story — and many that deserve telling. So my frustration with a lot of coverage comes down to — why did you leave out part of the story? I found that I preferred writing about the eccentric, the foreign, the human interest story — when what is needed for GetReligion is also often covering the breaking news.

I also have found that I am not running down the features and commentary that is the bread and butter of my own work — and was beginning to have procrastinator’s guilt (as you know, that’s worse for having been delayed!). So I’m returning to the workaday world of the free-lance commentator and journalist. I’ll be pursuing an occasional blogging opportunity, but focusing my energies on telling the stories I find so compelling.

I want to thank tmatt for coaching and encouraging me along the way — and my colleagues for offering advice and friendship. It’s been a blessing to make new friends, albeit long-distance ones. Thank you commenters for sharing your knowledge, candor, and a laugh or two. I don’t want to single out anyone, but I grew to like it when you challenged me or shared some helpful information.

Please feel free to follow me on my own personal blog, “Irreverent,” (www.nocheapshots.blogspot.com) where you will see a very different side of me as I write about motherhood, politics, faith and, hmmm, sometimes even dating.

While I won’t be blogging for GetReligion anymore after today, you gotta know I’ll be reading. I hope perhaps you gained something from having spent this year with me — I know I have from you.

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  • http://www.followingthelede.blogspot.com Sabrina

    I’ve enjoyed reading your posts — even the ones that made me raise my eyebrows or threw me into fits.

    Not sure I’ll be coming back to the blog quite so regularly now that you won’t be writing for it.

  • http://www.redletterbelievers.blogspot.com David

    Sad to see you go, as I love all the writers of this great vanguard of truth.

    David
    http://www.redletterbelievers.com

  • Stoo

    Leaving so sooon? It’s been great reading your posts.

  • http://www.getreligion.org Mollie

    Elizabeth,

    It has been such a joy to work alongside you this past year. I love your writing and the unique perspective you’ve brought to GetReligion. Your criticism has always been thoughtful and thought-provoking. You will be missed!

    Mollie

  • blestou

    Elizabeth – I’ve enjoyed the perspective you brought to the site. We’ll miss you. Godspeed.

  • Julia

    Me, too. You always have an interesting take on stories.

  • Jerry

    Elizabeth,

    I’m sad to see you go. I’ve enjoyed reading your contributions here but I look forward to reading them elsewhere.

    grapple with the mandate to tell a complex tale in a very short news hole

    In going you provided a great challenge I’d like to see some of the bloggers here take up. For some story, rather than just analyze its failings, write a story that is a model for how to do it right. Sometimes providing a positive example would be much better road to go down.

    This is especially true for the complex stories that are hard to tell in a few words. Take, for example, stories about Muslims who commit crimes such as the honor killing one. How would one of the bloggers here report that story?

    Which leads me to my final request: even though you won’t be a direct contributor here (at least for now?:-), I hope to read a comment or two from you in response to a story.

    • http://www.getreligion.org/?p=3978 E.E. Evans

      I am SO touched by all of your comments.

      All of you offer models of how to be constructive and support ongoing dialogue rather than close it down.

      Mollie, you know I’ll be reading and thinking about what you write — and commenting on so much else offline.

      I’m feeling a little sentimental. Must be time to mow the lawn.

      Jerry, I will be stopping by and will comment sometimes when appropriate.

  • michael

    Elizabeth,

    Quite a number of your stories have provoked me to comment. I’m sorry to see you go. Good luck.


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