There was always an important, yet unstated, idea at the heart of the “On Faith” website at The Washington Post: Religion is an important and powerful force in the real world, but the reality is that religion is all about feelings, experiences and opinions, not facts about history, doctrines, laws, scriptures, traditions and governance that journalists should cover in an accurate and balanced manner.
Needless to say, your GetReligionistas have never embraced that foggy point of view.
As a result, the “On Faith” site has always been dominated by waves of low-cost opinion essays written by religious leaders, offering a mix of analysis and information about events and trends from their own perspectives. Most of this content has meshed comfortably with the interests of the agnostic, spiritual and/or Episcopal views of founding editor Sally Quinn, the legendary force of nature in DC social life and the newspaper’s Style pages.
Alas, “On Faith” never even created a format that consistently showcased the NEWS CONTENT generated by the many fine reporters on the staff of the Post, along with the resources provided by Religion News Service.
Now, as most GetReligion readers know, “On Faith” is changing homes. This PR bulletin came out on Oct. 18:
FaithStreet today announced it has hired Patton Dodd as editor-in-chief of On Faith, The Washington Post‘s popular religion website. Last summer, The Washington Post Company WPO +1.87% made an investment in FaithStreet that included the contribution of On Faith to FaithStreet. Dodd will take over the editorial direction of On Faith, while the Post‘s Sally Quinn will remain founding editor and continue to work closely with the site.
“We’re going to reimagine what covering religion can look like,” Dodd said. “I’ve read On Faith for years, and I’m thrilled about the future of this site. The partnership with FaithStreet and its deep connection to local communities of various faiths will give us an on-the-ground perspective of what’s happening with religious people in this country.”
Dodd will oversee a transition in the editorial mission of On Faith, whose content will continue to include religion news and commentary by religious leaders from across the faith traditions. The scope of the new On Faith will be announced early next year.
So, the site will continue to mix news and opinion, but there will be a “transition” in its editorial mission and its “scope” will change.
Does this mean more news or less news? More information or less?