Huffington Post losing its religion: What's up as key staffers leave and news org drops RNS?

I never know quite what to make of the Huffington Post.

Is it a news publication? An advocacy commentary site? A combination of the two? This is a topic members of the GetReligion team have been debating for years, since our focus here is on mainstream news material.

On the one hand, the online-only news organization won a 2012 Pulitzer Prize for "Beyond the Battlefield," a 10-part series on the lives of severely wounded veterans and their families. Clearly, the HuffPost runs some serious news material.

On the other hand, regardless of what I think about Donald Trump, I find it difficult to take seriously the journalism of a media outlet that appends this note to its coverage of the Republican presidential candidate:

Note to our readers: Donald Trump is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistbirther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.

I bring up the HuffPost because of recent signs the website may be losing its religion. Literally.

Jerome Socolovsky, editor in chief of Religion News Service, confirmed to GetReligion that the news organization dropped its subscription to the wire service:

After being an RNS subscriber since 2012, we were sad to hear the Huffington Post will no longer carry the RNS wire. 

Meanwhile, Jaweed Kaleem, the award-winning senior religion reporter who serves as a vice president of the Religion Newswriters Association, confirmed to GetReligion that he has left the HuffPost:

Yes, I have left and am pursuing independent projects. I'm sure the talented staff there will continue to produce good work.

Kaleem's departure comes on the heels of Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, executive and founding editor of HuffPost Religion, leaving a few months ago to become senior vice president of public engagement at Auburn Seminary in New York. 

What do these recent developments mean to the future of the Godbeat at the HuffPost? I sent an email to the organization's media relations team this week. I have not received a response. If (and when) I do, I'll update this post.

A quick check of the HuffPost's job page reveals no openings for religion writers.

However, the website is looking for a "sleep reporter":

This reporter will have a firm grasp of all that’s happening in the scientific field of sleep studies, a newsy eye for how sleep (and sleep-deprivation) influences major stories, and an appreciation of the way sleep unlocks new possibilities for us -- as individuals and as a society -- when we embrace it and give it the respect it deserves.

What about the Godbeat? Will the HuffPost continue to embrace it and give it the respect it deserves?

Stay tuned.

Inset image by Gil C, via

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