Now this is what you call an easy weekend "think piece" post.
I had not heard of the just-launched UnHerd blog over in England until a reader sent your GetReligionistas a URL for a post that was guaranteed to get our attention. More on that in a minute.
Here is the top of an article in The Spectator about the launch of this interesting new blog featuring news and commentary.
A new star is born today into the centre-right blogosphere: UnHerd. The latest brainchild of Tim Montgomerie, founder of ConservativeHome, it has launched with a mission statement to ‘dive deep into the economic, technological and cultural challenges of our time’. Its launch blogs show a wide mix of subjects: a YouGov poll revealing the low regard with which the public view traditional news media, Peter Franklin on why we should get ready for Prime Minister Corbyn, James Bloodworth on the crash ten years on and Graeme Archer on how meat-eating may come to be seen as barbaric by our grandchildren.
UnHerd is also marked out by its financing model. It has no paywall; all articles will be free to read with the costs covered by an endowment from Sir Paul Marshall. He is a former Liberal Democrat donor and a Brexit backer -- but, unlike the others, has not run away from the field.
Well, it was another early UnHerd post that caught the attention of a GetReligion reader and, thus, your GetReligionistas. The catchy headline on that short, but provocative, post by religion researcher Katie Harrison of greater London?
You can see how that might get the attention of folks at this here blog.
The starting point for this piece is a subject very familiar to GetReligion readers, which is the fact that lots of people in our world today have rejected organized religion, but they cannot escape the fact that religious questions, issues and ideas are hard to avoid for people who are alive and thinking about life (and death, and beyond).
So even the people who click "none," or "no religion," in the faith category in surveys cannot accurately be called "secular." As it turns out, this week's GetReligion "Crossroads" podcast was on this very topic, with a European angle, no less.
What does this have to do with the everyday work done by journalists? Take it away Katie Harrison:
High though the No Religion response is, it’s still less than half of the British population. More than half of us, when completing a survey, tick a box aligning us with a religion. And whatever that might mean in practice for each of us, if we’re still ticking the box there’s something still there which means that this matters.
For the most part, journalists are a different breed. 61% of them identify as No Religion and, when asked ‘how important is religion or religious belief to you?’, 52% said Unimportant and 22% said Of Little Importance.
None of which matters at all, surely, given that the job of a journalist is to reflect the views and experiences of a wide range of people, including those with whom they have nothing in common. That is fundamentally a reporter’s job. Interviewing the survivor of a violent crime or terrorist incident doesn’t require experience of the same; empathy and listening are core skills for any journalist.
But to write about the motivations of someone with a particular faith requires some knowledge and understanding of the subject, to appreciate the believer’s particular dilemmas and joys and to identify their deeply held motivations. Perhaps it just doesn’t occur to some reporters that faith might form part of their interviewee’s viewpoint, if that reporter doesn’t give much credence to religious belief.
What can I say? Read it all. And pay attention to the footnotes.
I also hope that the folks at UnHerd soon find out about, well, GetReligion. We are about 13 years into this discussion. We say, "hello" and "welcome."