Last week, Stricherz highlighted a Washington Post story about Pope Benedict XVI's upcoming visit to the states. I'm sure we'll be highlighting many more stories as the visit approaches, but I wanted to direct readers to a few of the better sites for coverage. The Washington Times' Julia Duin has been operating a Papal Visit blog for about six weeks. She's got all the latest information on the Pope's itinerary and how it will impact churches in the region and beyond. She's been having some good fun with the site -- the latest story is about a certain name for baby boys that is increasing in popularity.
The All Things Catholic column by the National Catholic Reporter's John Allen is a good place to bookmark for information from Rome.
Gary Stern of the Journal News (and Blogging Religiously fame) put up a Pope Page -- with its own logo and everything. Benedict in America as the site is called, is super fancy and has all sorts of multi-media to help readers. It's comprehensive and beautifully designed and practically begging for a journalism award:
Pope Benedict XVI will make his first visit to the United States from April 15-20, stopping in Washington and New York. The Journal News and LoHud.com will cover every angle - from preparations and expectations to the pope's arrival and his historic stops at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Ground Zero, St. Joseph's Seminary and Yankee Stadium.
Stern has already published many stories and I'm sure he'd love feedback on what would be good angles to cover. The Benedict in America site is user friendly and asks for reader contributions.
My favorite Stern piece was published a couple of weeks ago and came out of his discussion with Mark Ackermann, executive director of the New York Archdiocese's Office of the Papal Visit:
Reporting directly to Cardinal Edward Egan, he is in charge of planning for every papal minute from when Benedict arrives at John F. Kennedy International Airport from Washington on April 18 to when he lifts off on Shepherd One about 8 p.m. April 20, heading for Rome.
It is a unique job that covers everything from planning security with the Secret Service and a litany of government agencies to preparing 550 priests and deacons to give Communion to 58,000 people at Yankee Stadium in 15 minutes.
"We've literally had walk-throughs at the stadium to figure out who is going to be where, how people are going to get out of their row - I was going to say pew - to receive Communion and get back to the same seat," he said in his office at the archdiocese's headquarters.
Duin, Stern and many other reporters -- Peter Smith of the Louisville Courier-Journal, for instance -- have experience with papal visits and I bet that experience will help them get the best coverage on this trip.
Usually religion stories are undercovered. But it looks like they'll have this one coming and going.