A sign of the times? Opinion writers outnumber news reporters on Southern Baptist alt-right story

Bonnie Tyler needed a hero.

Me? I'm holding out for a news reporter.

I hope you'll forgive my blending of 1980s pop and 21st century news media criticism. But I really am feeling a bit nostalgic for the days of journalists who focused on reporting facts — say, from a headline-worthy event such as this week's Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Phoenix.

Instead, as I'm reading today's print edition of The Dallas Morning News, I come across this headline and subhead on the Viewpoints page (an opinion page):

An abrupt about-face for Southern Baptists
Resolution condemning alt-right looks like face-saving, says Sharon Grigsby

It's a negative opinion on Southern Baptists' actions concerning the alt-right debate that GetReligion editor Terry Mattingly highlighted earlier this week (here and here). The writer, Grigsby, is a member of the newspaper's editorial board. It's her job to tell readers what she thinks. It's not my role to agree or disagree with what she says.

But here's what concerns — even frustrates — me: Unless I somehow missed it, The Dallas Morning News print edition (to which I subscribe) didn't bother to publish a news story on the controversy. The paper did put a wire story wrap-up on its website. But for print readers (and yes, I realize that's a diminishing audience), the only lens through which to view this week's convention comes on an editorial page.

Similarly, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and The Commercial Appeal of Memphis, Tenn. — both papers serving audiences with plenty of Baptists — published columns about the Southern Baptists. But the Star-Telegram relied on The Associated Press for the actual news coverage, while the Commercial Appeal used coverage from a sister Gannett paper in Phoenix. 

Again, I'm neither endorsing nor objecting to the opinions expressed. Over the years, I've had positive personal interactions with both the Star-Telegram's Bud Kennedy and The Commercial Appeal's David Waters. I respect and appreciate the journalistic work of both.

I just wish — perhaps selfishly — that papers such as The Dallas Morning News would devote resources to covering a story such as this as "news" as well as "opinion." As tmatt pointed out, the live streaming of SBC events made it possible for news organizations that couldn't afford to send a reporter to watch them live and report on them in real time: 

Also, WFAA in Dallas used a combination of streaming video, local reporting and SBC footage to produce a strong report focusing on the local angle of the story – the central role played by the Rev. William D. McKissic, a local pastor who wrote the original resolution.

What I can't figure out: Why is the SBC decision worthy of ink on The Dallas Morning News' opinion page, but not in its news section?

I don't need a hero. I'm holding out for a reporter.

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