Take five

I tried, I really did. I tried to just pick five.

But when you cruise through an entire year of GetReligion posts, it really is amazing how much can happen in a year. There's just so much stuff in this here weblog (and most of it still "works," even though flaws in the cyberspace concept of a "permalink" creates some holes).

The Divine Ms. M.Z. Hemingway used her five categories method to pack about 5,000 links into her annual wrap up, which I thought was amazing. So let me offer a "Hear! Hear!" for all of her "here, here" collections.

It has taken me several days to dig through the whole year online. There is the temptation, of course, to list the five posts that got the most comments. There is another temptation to list the five posts that I, as the writer, thought should have received the most comments (not that I get bitter or anything). Comment pages, can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.

Anyway, here are five posts that I think deal with issues that are at the very heart of what this blog is about, posts in which I attempted to deal with the mystery of why religion is such a glorious challenge to cover in the context of mainstream news.

Why do journalists continue to have a "Blind Spot" when it comes to handling this crucial factor in the lives of millions and millions of people? Why is it so hard to do ordinary, accurate, balanced journalism on religious, cultural and moral issues?

Here we go:

* Why did these terrorists target Jews?: Looking past the obvious in the Mumbai bloodbath. A classic GetReligion "ghost" story.

* Newsweek, RIP: When it comes to religion, doing mainstream journalism requires an honest attempt to understand the role of faith in the lives of many different kinds of people, even "everyday folks." Newsweek punts.

* Hey Kurtz, we're mad about JOURNALISM: A heart cry from a grieving fan of Howard "Howie" Kurtz, who missed an important chance to defend a core doctrine of journalism, which is that journalists should not edit quotations to turn a speaker's words upside down and inside out.

orthocube* On fog, a meditation: Journalists must strive to respect the religious traditions that they cover, even when they disagree with them. Failure to do so may cause a "slightly nauseated sensation" for many faithful readers.

* Define "emerging." Give three examples: Words matter on the religion beat, because they are used to express doctrines and the doctrines frame the lives of religious believers (even more than -- gasp -- politics). One of the big stories right now is the emergence of the evangelical left. But news coverage on this topic has been vague, vague, vague.

And in the cloud of runner-up headlines, check out these 10:

Children of Postmodern Women It's the (Anglican) doctrine, stupid Jonestown: Not the usual theocracy Pew gap trilogy at The Politico Karadzic: What kind of mystic? Obama a doomed apostate? (True or false) Are faithful dads creepy or what? Wright stuff: The church that Obama joined Waiting for the "real" pope stuff Part. Of. The. Story. In. Kosovo.

So that's a somewhat random, frustrated collection of tmatt posts from GetReligion V. Any somewhat random comments?

Art: Hey, I like Dave Brubeck. That's reason enough for the YouTube clip. And, no, I do not know where you can buy the OrthoCube in the second illustration.

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