Friday Five: New NYT religion writer, Illinois priest abusers, suicide homily, Godbeat on YouTube

In case you missed it on social media, there’s big news this week concerning the Godbeat at The New York Times.

Laurie Goodstein, who since 1997 has — as a newsroom press release put it — “owned the religion beat at The Times, covering it with smarts, passion and a commitment to accountability and understanding,” is taking on a new role. She’ll become a deputy international editor.

The name of Goodstein’s successor will be familiar to regular GetReligion readers: It’s Elizabeth Dias, whose stories we have praised often.

My first reaction to that news was, “Isn’t Dias already a Times religion writer?” But actually, her previous title was faith and values correspondent, focused on the religion angle of politics.

Congratulations to both Goodstein and Dias!

Who will move into the faith and values correspondent role? Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, let’s dive into the Friday Five:

1. Religion story of the week: Well played, Daniel Burke.

Yes, the Illinois attorney general’s report that the state’s Roman Catholic dioceses withheld the names of at least 500 priests accused of sexual abuse of minors made lots of headlines.

Among those covering the story: Burke at CNN, the Times’ Goodstein, the Washington Post’s Michelle Boorstein, The Associated Press and the local Chicago Tribune.

In the news today: Pope Francis vows that the Catholic Church “never again” will cover up clergy sex abuse, AP reports. I suspect that story will generate additional GetReligion comment.

2. Most popular GetReligion post: My critique of news coverage of a Catholic priest’s jarring homily at the funeral of a teen who died by suicide occupies the No. 1 spot.

Also of interest: my followup to that post on the fact that what the priest actually said at the funeral matters.

3. Guilt folder fodder (and more): Religion News Service has an interesting video out, featuring editor-in-chief Bob Smietana.

It’s an interview of Smietana, titled "The Religion Beat: From Celebrations to Scandals,” by Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Professor Ari Goldman.

I enjoyed listening to it. (There is a typo at the 9:35 mark that someone might want to fix.)

4. Shameless plug: Speaking of RNS, I did a freelance piece this week on an interfaith prayer service held for U.S. Rep.-elect Kendra Horn, D-Okla.

In one of the biggest upsets of the 2018 midterm elections, Horn turned Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District blue for the first time in 44 years.

My story explores the role of religion in her election.

5. Final thought: Speaking of well played — way to go, Mollie Hemingway (a big-league GetReligionista emeritus).

Happy Friday, everybody!

Enjoy the weekend before Christmas!

Please respect our Commenting Policy