Shameless plug for Godbeat friend

beliefblog2The world cannot have enough blogs about religion news, as far as I am concerned. So I am happy to announce that veteran religion-beat specialist Julia Duin of The Washington Times has opened up shop online. She has had a personal homepage and blog for some time (if you are interested in parenting and conditions in Kazakhstan, check that out), and now she will be adding content to her newspaper work at the new BeliefBlog. I do have a style question: Is there a space between "Belief" and "Blog" in that title or not?

Duin opens the door with a reference -- a Godbeat classic -- to a comparision that the late George Cornell of the Associated Press used to make. It's simple. Count the number of people who worship every weekend and the money they donate to religious causes and institutions. Then count the number of people attending sporting events every weekend and the dollars they spend. Compare the two, then count the number of journalists assigned to each of these subjects. It's not a fair fight. Duin adds:

Not only is religion big business, it's big news, which is why we felt it was about time this newspaper premiered a religion blog. It's not the first to do so in the secular media. About 30 outlets are ahead of us on this one. But, better late than ...

Today, Dec. 3, is an appropriate launch date for BeliefBlog, one day after the first Sunday in Advent and one day before Hanukkah. We did some mulling over the title and decided for alliteration and simplicity (although I do think one editor's suggestion of "Papal Bull" could have attracted attention a lot quicker.)

I plan to make this stand out amongst many of the current faith blogs, many of which are little more than daily religion digests with uplinks. Not here. I'm aiming at something closer to Ruth Gledhill's "Articles of Faith" blog blog in the London Times that has juicy details not in the dead tree version.

In other words, more of a commentary blog on news events, as opposed to a running digest and commentary on religion-news coverage (like, well, GetReligion).

So welcome to cyberspace. Any other nominations out there for new Godbeat blogs to add to the essentials list?

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