Flying the flag at World Youth Day

050821 WYD2005 09 sOne of our favorite topics to whine about here at GetReligion is the shameful job that some American newspapers do of displaying the work of their religion-beat specialists. All over the place -- think Denver, Chicago and Orlando for starters -- there are talented and committed Godbeat scribes whose editors do next to nothing to help WWW-era readers find their work. Want to find fashion, autos, health or weather? That's easy. Religion coverage? That is often next to impossible. The Los Angeles Times recently seemed to go out of its way to make it harder to find this beat. You think I am joking? Check this out.

One of the best of the hidden talents is Ann Rodgers in Pittsburgh. In the midst of the waves of "Catholic Woodstock" and "Is Benedict XVI as charismatic as that John Paul II man that we admire now that he is gone?" coverage, she files this highly symbolic lead -- local angle, even -- with a World Youth Day dateline:

After nearly a week of being very low-key about their nationality, a group of young Catholics from the South Hills began flying the stars and stripes yesterday. . . .

All pilgrims from the United States had been warned not to display their flag because it might make them targets of political hatred. Many carried state flags -- the bear of California was everywhere. The South Hills group had carried a Steelers pennant to help them find each other in crowds where they could easily become separated.

But all week they had seen thousands of people from lands as diverse as Tahiti and Sweden proudly displaying their national colors. They had spotted a few American groups also flying large flags, with no apparent ill effects.

We could wish this story wasn't timely, but it is.

Any other overlooked World Youth Day stories out there that GetReligion readers want to nominate for special attention?

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