Your GetReligionistas -- plus one

DSCN1045 SmallIt's time for an update from the GetReligionistas team here in cyberspace. There have been a few changes of location and routine -- so here is the news. First of all, there is the new guy. That would be veteran Washington journalist Mark Stricherz, who will tell you more about himself here in a few paragraphs.

These days, he is best known here inside the Beltway as the author of the new book Why the Democrats are Blue: Secular Liberalism and the Decline of the People's Party. He's also had his own blog for some time now, In Front of Your Nose.

Mark and I have been talking for months about some GetReligion work, but we had to wait until the book was done. Now, as the first photo shows, he has moved on to the hard work of book promotion.

Meanwhile, the Divine Mrs. M.Z. is working from home these days, writing according to the baby's schedule rather than that of an adult editor. However, that's good for working with a website -- so you can expect to see even more of Mollie here at GetReligion in the near future.

Young master Daniel Pulliam has headed home to Indiana, where he is in law school. So he is busy, but it is a rather flexible form of busy -- compared to his previous life as a D.C. reporter. So he will continue writing, with a new focus on religion news in the flyover country. Think Chicago to Dallas and thereabouts.

Doug LeBlanc will roll on as our editor and tech man and as a bridge to the website of the Oxford Centre for Religion & Public Life, home of the Rev. Dr. Editor Arne Fjeldstad, my partner in in all kinds of academic work here and abroad. And I will continue doing all the things that I do, so there is no change there.

So what about this Stricherz fellow?

Asked for a mini-biography we could post, he offered the following. I don't know about you, but I get a kick out of talking to somebody who can write about some of the same topics for The New Republic and The Weekly Standard.

blue dems 1Mark begins with the book, of course. Like I said, he is in full-tilt promotion mode.

I wrote Why the Democrats Are Blue: Secular Liberalism and the Decline of the People's Party (Encounter Books), released this October. The book touches on many subjects I intend to write about for GetReligion: the media's treatment of secularism; the Catholic Church and Catholic social thought; American politics and government; and American mores and culture.

To see why I am interested in and qualified to write about these subjects, a little background seems in order.

I was born in San Francisco in 1970 and raised in the Bay Area. I earned a B.A. in political science from Santa Clara University and an M.A. in the social sciences from the University of Chicago. In between, I worked for the Jesuit Volunteer Corps to redevelop an inner-city neighborhood in Baton Rouge, La., and worked as a literary assistant at America.

After school, I became a newspaper reporter. My stories on a contracting scandal in Brentwood, Calif., led to the resignation of a top city official. In 1997, the late great Michael Kelly hired me as a reporter-researcher at The New Republic. I then covered Congress for States News Service and was a staff writer at Education Week.

My stories have been cited by The Week in August 2003 as among the best in the country and received an honorable mention in 2005 from Washington Independent Writers. My articles have appeared in many national publications, including The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, The Weekly Standard, The New Republic, Christianity Today, Commonweal, National Catholic Register,and Inside Catholic. To research Why the Democrats are Blue, I received grants from the Phillips Foundation in Washington, D.C., and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation at the University of Texas in Austin.

I am the product of an eclectic, wonderful and enfeebled Bay Area Catholic culture from the 1970s and '80s. This helps explain why I play basketball and follow most team sports; love the Bay Area, especially San Francisco; read newspapers, magazines and books; listen to U2, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and '80s pop music; watch mainstream movies; jawbone with my friends; and attempt to follow the Seven Sacraments.

I live in Washington with my wife, Angy, and our daughter, Grace. We are parishioners at St. Peter's Catholic Church on Capitol Hill.

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