I suppose there's no reason that the Atlanta Journal Constitution should have better religion reporting than the average newspaper. But I rarely read anything noteworthy from the paper and sometimes the stories are really lacking. Yesterday's account of controversy surrounding a female high school football player left me confused:
In August, [Georgia Football League executive board chairman Hank] St. Denis told [kicker] Kacy [Stuart], 14, she could not play after she was accepted by and practiced with the New Creation Center Crusaders.
So is the New Creation Center a parochial school? Is the Georgia Football League in charge of rules determining who can play in private and public schools? Since when do we refer to people in news stories by their first names, as is done here with the girl in question?
The first team Kacy faced relied on the Bible to express its beliefs about female football players in a pre-game statement, said New Creation athletic director Coach Ken Townley.
"The East Atlanta Mustangs didn't play us under protest but they were allowed to read a statement on their beliefs about female football players," Townley said. "They used biblical verses from the book of Romans. I was very stunned by that."
It's not just that we're not told which verses were used, but we're not told how they used them as an argument. This is key information, needless to say. It's just confusing though. The East Atlanta Mustangs must be a Christian team but that name doesn't tell us anything about their background. But either way, what was it that they said? How hard can this be to find out if you're, you know, writing a story about it?
This August ESPN story has some more details. The Georgia Football League is the association for private school teams and all the schools in question are private.
Anyway, when the What?, the How? and the Why? are missing from a news story, you're just not doing very well as a reporter.