Tuesday marked religion writer Lilly Fowler's last day on the job at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
After less than two years with the Post-Dispatch, Fowler announced plans last week to join the PBS newsmagazine "Religion & Ethics Newsweekly":
"I know there are no immediate plans," Fowler said of the St. Louis newspaper hiring a new religion writer. "Part of the reason I left is that they took me off my beat after the newsroom was recently offered buyouts."
I enjoyed interviewing Fowler last year on covering faith and the front lines in Ferguson, Mo., and wish her all the best in her new gig:
Meanwhile, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel religion writer Annysa Johnson revealed on Twitter that she won't be covering faith for the next year:
Will somebody else cover religion in Milwaukee while Johnson focuses on education? I tweeted and asked Johnson that, but she has not responded.
The worst-case scenario is that two more brand-name American newspapers are abandoning the Godbeat. (I would love to hear from those newspapers that I am wrong!)
Losing Godbeat positions in St. Louis and Milwaukee would be sad but perhaps not surprising given that newspapers where you'd expect religion writing to thrive — such as The Dallas Morning News and The Tennessean — have dropped the beat in recent years.
Meanwhile, after advertising for religion writers, the San Antonio Express-News (where Abe Levy set such a high standard before departing) and the Louisville Courier-Journal (once home to the great Godbeat pro Peter Smith) never filled the positions, as far as I can tell. (Again, I would love to hear from those newspapers that I am wrong!)
On the bright side, we did note recently that the Godbeat has made a comeback in an unlikely place: