It 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.