— GetReligion (@GetReligion) January 11, 2014
— Lilly A. Fowler (@LillyAFowler) January 10, 2014
— Tim Townsend (@townsendreport) January 13, 2014
This past fall, Post-Dispatch “religion-writing superstar” Tim Townsend left to become a senior writer and editor at the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project. We might have mentioned his departure once or twice or five times — here, here, here, here and here.The journalist hired as Townsend’s successor? Lilly Fowler, a longtime Religion News Service contributor.
Post-Dispatch assistant metro editor Matthew Franck shared this internal announcement on Fowler’s hiring:
We are pleased to announce that Lilly Fowler will join the metro desk as a religion reporter. Lilly has master’s degrees in journalism, from the University of Southern California, and religion, from Notre Dame. Her freelance work on religion has appeared in Slate, Salon and a host of papers, including the Post-Dispatch. Most recently, she has been an assistant editor at FairWarning, a nonprofit in Los Angeles, where she has written investigative projects on health, safety and corporate conduct. She also has multimedia experience as a web producer for the public radio broadcast Marketplace.
One respected Godbeat pro told me he was unfamiliar with Fowler. “I don’t know anything about Lilly — do you?” he asked.
When I shared the memo copied above, that writer replied, “Great credentials. Any clergy who have something to hide should be nervous.”
Let’s not put too much pressure on Fowler to start. It takes a while to build a new beat in a new city. And as she said herself, she has “big shoes” to fill.
But like her predecessor, we welcome her hiring by the Post-Dispatch and look forward to reading her stories.