To boldly go, where GetReligion has not gone ...

big2 01I had a minor epiphany the other day when I realized that we are a few months away from the third birthday of this weblog. To make a long story short, the foundational "What we do, why we do it" post went online on Feb. 1, 2004, after the Rt. Rev. Douglas LeBlanc and I sent a month trying to get our act together. Well, that's not exactly true. Doug had his act together, it took me a month to learn how (OK, to try to learn how) to use the software.

Here's why I bring this up.

A kind former student of mine sent me a note alerting me to the fact that Frank "Bible Belt Blogger" Lockwood of the Lexington Herald-Leader recently shared the following observation with his readers:

My favorite blog on media and religion is getreligion.org. Day in and day out, it's an absolutely outstanding site.

Obviously, we like it when Harvard-guy professionals on the beat say nice things like that.

But it also got me to thinking. There is so much that the busy people who do this blog wish we had the time to do. We need to update the left sidebar. We need to tweak the looks a bit in terms of graphics. Should we retire the colors and go to a DC-ish Navy and Khaki look?

Clearly, we need some new categories and a few old ones can go away. At the very least we need a "marriage and sex" category. How about one called "Seven Sisters" for the mainline Prots who aren't under Anglicanism? I always wonder where to put posts linked to worship and trends in church life. We could use a "religious left" slot, but is that actually -- the Pew Forum has great info on this -- actually the same thing as the Seven Sisters? Or are the Seven Sisters all splitting up (the answer is "yes") and the left side of that is half of the religious left, waltzing with the new secularists and the anti-Fundamentalist voters?

Anyway, Lockwood's plug made met think about the future. Everyone agrees, in the Google-search age, that the way to grow a blog's readership is through links to other sites of kindred interests. But that raises interesting issues for us. Our primary goal is to help mainstream journalists think about how to improve coverage of religion news. We are big on the whole diversity thing in newsrooms and we still believe in things like balance and accuracy.

We are glad to have readers who are simply interested in religion news and trends. Stay with us! Keep us in your Holy Blogs of Obligation. Please!

But we also need to keep reaching out core audience of news professionals.

So, other than the obvious -- Beliefnet.com, Poynter.org, etc., can you name some other blogs and sites that you think should include GetReligion? Can you help us get more links out there in the mainstream? Want to help?

I also wonder: Anyone out there interested in GetReligion t-shirts, water bottles and coffee mugs? What would be the easiest way to pull that sort of project off? Just asking. Maybe we are a kind of blue-denim-button-down-shirt kind of site for causal Fridays?

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