Last week, I highlighted the winners in the Religion Newswriters Association's annual contest:
However, I didn't mention one of the most talked-about moments at the RNA's annual conference in Philadelphia.
That would be veteran New York Times religion writer Laurie Goodstein's remarks as she accepted the first-place prize for religion reporting at large newspapers and wire services:
What exactly did Goodstein — described by contest judges as "the gold standard in religion journalism" — say?
PHILADELPHIA (RNS) Writing about religion isn’t all hope and inspiration.
“There are days when I feel despair about the news and the place of religion in it,” said Laurie Goodstein of The New York Times, named first-place winner for excellence in religion reporting at the Religion Newswriters Association’s 66th annual awards ceremony over the weekend in Philadelphia.
“This work is getting harder,” added Goodstein, in what she said were unprepared remarks. She won in the large newspapers and wire services category for stories published in 2014.
Yet religion reporting is more important than ever, said David Gibson of Religion News Service, who won the first-place award for excellence in religion news analysis.
“Religion writers are crucial in providing a deeper historical, cultural, political and theological framework,” said Gibson.
“The industry’s woes and the amount of news and the subject matter can weigh heavily,” Gibson added. “But then stories like the pontificate of Pope Francis and the response to him of so many people of good faith, and no faith at all, can provide a whole new perspective.”
Now, what in the world of religion news could make one feel despair? Personally, I can't help but think of the hundreds of thousands of people dead or fleeing the Islamic State, as tmatt noted Monday:
But to the bigger picture of religion journalism, I'd invite GetReligion readers — particularly Godbeat pros — to share your reaction to Goodstein's comments: Do you feel a similar despair? If so, how do you overcome it? Also, do you agree that religion journalism is becoming more difficult? Why or why not?
Please join the conversation in the comments section or tweet us at @GetReligion.