News and commentary sites about religion continue to proliferate, adding to journalists’ headaches on how to parcel out their limited reading time.
Among others, the Religion Guy’s spot checks include www.religionnews.com from the venerable Religion News Service, led by interim editor Yonat Shimron, a Godbeat vet out of Raleigh, N.C. Then there is Nicholas Hahn’s www.realclearreligion.org, and of course our own www.getreligion.org.
A standout mainstream media site is "Acts of Faith," at The Washington Post (edited by former GetReligionista Sarah Pulliam Bailey).
Then for gobs of opinionated comment representing all imaginable viewpoints there’s www.patheos.com. (Full disclosure: The Religion Guy writes “Religion Q and A” items for the “Public Square” section of Patheos.com to provide a bit of non-sectarian information there. Those pieces are also posted by GetReligion.)
The latest entry comes from tart-tongued Laura Ingraham, 52, the most-listened-to woman in the conservative talk-radio universe. Her www.LifeZette.com went online in July.
Despite the name, this is not a website focused on “pro-life” issues, though that outlook is evident in some of the postings. The site’s slogan is “Life. Explained.”
Good. Luck. With. That.
The secondary slogan is “Inform + Inspire + Entertain.”
Lifezette has five main sections: PoliZette (like everybody else it figures Fiorina won the Reagan Library debate but unlike some ranks Cruz and Trump close behind), MomZette (wow -- millennials are waiting longer to wed!), HealthZette (purple potatoes lick cancer in mice!), and PopZette (was mere ‘digital cheating’ via Ashley Madison real cheating?).
Then there’s FaithZette, which will obviously be of interest to fellow religion writers. Inevitably, its slogan is “Faith. Explained.” Sounds. Great.
Ingraham is an adult convert to Catholicism and coverage tilts toward her own church -- though to be fair, Pope Francis’s U.S. visit and his ideological maneuvering commanded considerable attention in recent days. Most of the Catholic articles are picked up from Catholic News Agency, an international online non-profit with conservative leanings.
As with RealClearReligion, many other FaithZette articles among the dozens posted in the inaugural weeks were selected pickups from other media, including Religion News Service. An interesting but somewhat thin piece about Marco Rubio’s potential support from Mormons was drawn from Politico.com (which was duly credited). Articles by the in-house staff included soft looks at religious tattooing and the bid for a Satanist statue at the Arkansas state capitol.
Then we had “Journalism’s Loss of Faith,” posting the statistic that 60 percent of the general population is basically religious but only 36 percent of journalists. But frustrating clicks on that intriguing tease did not produce any further detail or analysis.
Will the newborn FaithZette, or LifeZette over-all, become must reading? In the early weeks it’s mildly interesting but a journalist's pulse rarely pounds. Check out the offerings for yourself and keep an eye on its future evolution.
Historical trivia for news junkies: Lifezette is a play on “gazette,” a synonym for newspaper that had lowly origins in 16th Century Italy. The word derived from either magpie birds, whose chattering suggested phoniness, or "magpie" as the nickname for the small coin folks in Venice would pay to get reading access to public news posters that predated newspapers. Or both.