From Baptist kid to jihadist fighter

In “The Jihadist Next Door,” Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Andrea Elliott’s Sunday cover story in The New York Times Magazine, Elliott turns her laser focus on the journey of one American youngster who decides to join a Somali terrorist group linked to Al Qaeda. By going deep into one particular story, this long-form feature sheds light [Read More...]

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Oh No! Abstinence works? (revisited)

Earlier today, we looked at a couple of media treatments of that abstinence study. Both the Washington Post and Associated Press coverage we looked at were much better than this Los Angeles Times story. It’s awful. Here’s a sample: The George W. Bush administration poured tens of millions of dollars into federal funding for abstinence-only [Read More...]

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Fair criticism on march coverage? (corrected)

As I mentioned the other day, media coverage of the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., always offers conservative activists new opportunities to bash the mainstream press. As a journalist who has always worked in the mainstream, I frankly wish that the mainstream press would make their work a little harder to do. What [Read More...]

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Got news? China’s missing girls

Every now and then, a story that I have followed for years and filed over in category A gets connected in some completely logical way with another important story that I have filed in category B and, suddenly, I am shocked to discover something new — a major story in category C. I think the [Read More...]

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Beer, babes and … abortion?

Let’s gather ’round the TV as we celebrate one of America’s biggest holidays, Super Bowl Sunday. And if the game’s a dud we can laugh at the commercials, many of which feature beer and babes. This year, a new Super Bowl advertiser (Focus on the Family) is paying CBS to air a spot with a [Read More...]

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Tissue alert: God is in the details

Want to start your day with a real tearjerker (the good kind)? Take a few minutes to read this story by the Washington Post about a Maryland pastor whose family was stranded in Haiti after the earthquake. Yes, it’s five pages long, but hit the “print” button so you can read the whole thing lest [Read More...]

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‘Nonononono! Oh God, not Erika!’

When journalists who care about religion news make a case for improved coverage on this beat, we usually talk about the ways in which religious faith — in almost all cultures — helps shape the pivotal events in the lives of the overwhelming majority of people in this world. A wise, highly secular editor once [Read More...]

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Focus’s family squabbles (continued)

You can learn a lot about a family by observing how it handles fights. And Laurie Goodstein’s Sunday New York Times story shows that as the breach between James Dobson and Focus on the Family grows, all parties are keeping quiet and pretending everything is OK. Earlier this year I wrote on coverage by media [Read More...]

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