A more graceful Ross joins GetReligion crew

Some folks get annoyed when they read a news story with holes, a piece with errors, prose with pockmarks. Me? I see it as an opportunity to learn and to teach. And when there’s nothing to fix, when all angles are covered and no questions remain by the ending, I rejoice and join in the celebration of good journalism. Everyone wins!

That’s part of why GetReligion captivates me, and it’s a big reason why I’m thrilled by the opportunity to join this stellar group of religion news hounds.

I’ve been reading this site for years, since my husband Bobby Ross Jr. turned me on to its efforts to shine a bright light on the dimly lit ghosts of secular religion coverage. I’ve always thought the Almighty has a sense of humor, and the commentary here affirms that for me. I love journalism, too, and that’s what this blog is all about.

Besides loving a good laugh, though, who am I really? A good friend calls me Jobette, the feminine form of the Bible’s most prolific yet long-suffering man. I think that’s much better that being called Sarah/Sarai, though, because that wing of the house is firmly closed.

I ended my 20-year career in journalism in 2012 after a trio of as-yet-untamable autoimmune diseases made it impossible to stay vertical for even moderate periods of time, much less type, travel or transcribe notes. During my byline years, however, I worked as religion editor for The Oklahoman, promoted up from copy editor and assistant features editor. I’ve also done freelance work for The Associated Press and United Methodist News Service. My most recent gig was with The Christian Chronicle, which truly was a homecoming for me, as I interned there during my college years at Oklahoma Christian University.

I ended my 43-year career as my mother’s favorite (and only) daughter just three weeks ago after she suffered a massive heart attack and died 48 hours later. I sat with my dad in a different heart hospital three days after her memorial service and listened as he described for doctors numbness, tingling and pain I had never heard about before. (My own ticker seems to be keeping excellent time at the moment, in spite of its brokenness.)

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Ch-ch-ch-ch Changes again, here in GetReligion land

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All together now, GetReligion readers.

Strange fascination, fascinating me
Changes are taking the pace
I’m going through …

(Turn and face the stranger)
Pretty soon you’re gonna get
a little older
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can’t trace time

GetReligion has faced some major changes in its nearly 10 years of cyber-life, but nothing like what we’ll be going through this month.

Alas, I am not talking about changes in technology or format. I’m talking about changes on our masthead, in terms of the writers whose work you follow here day after day.

For starters, Joe Carter is already out the door — after taking a social-media job with the Washington, D.C., office of, well, a really ginormous faith-based flock. He cannot discuss the details for another week or two, when the new post will formally be announced. His work with us ended Sept. 1. He has been a crucial player for us on a wide variety of issues, including social media.

But the big news is that the Divine Mrs. M.Z. Hemingway — she of the 2,016, and counting, GetReligion posts over the past eight years — has accepted a full-time reporting, editing and commentary position with a major online news website that literally has yet to be announced. Thus, she cannot share all of the details of her new gig with us until the launch in a week or so.

I don’t quite know how to describe the force-of-nature role that MZ has created for herself here at GetReligion and in social media — so I won’t even try. The word “omnipresent” leaps to mind (especially on Twitter).

Mollie will write her own farewell post at the end of the month (she’s writing in a limited role all of September). At this point, I will simply stress that her name will remain on our masthead for a simple reason: How can you read all of the interlocked posts she has produced here through the years (posts to which I am sure people will continue to link) without people being able to find an online reference on this site that says who she is?

Plus, we hope that her new employer will — once the site is up and rolling — allow her to come back to GetReligion in a much smaller role than her current daily posting role. I am saying that she is on extended leave.

So how in the world do you replace people like MZ and Joe?

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