Friday Five: Pope emeritus news, Beto O'Rourke's holy dirt, Israel's election, religious press awards

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If you’ve read GetReligion for any length of time, you know we advocate fair, balanced journalism that strives to show respect for believers on both sides of hot-button debates.

Occasionally, we feel like nobody respects the American model of the press anymore.

So I was pleased this week to read an interview with a college newspaper editor-to-be who stressed the importance of seeking comments from his university’s administrators. He said:

We’re not working for them; we’re working for the student body. We have to be brave and report on what’s happening, even if they don’t cooperate. But we should always give the chance to give their side of the story.

I was particularly pleased to read that interview because it was with my son Keaton, who will serve next school year as editor in chief of Oklahoma Christian University’s Talon. Before taking on that gig, he’ll intern this summer with The Oklahoman, the major daily here in Oklahoma City. But that’s enough dad bragging for one day!

Let’s dive into the Friday Five:

1. Religion story of the week: GetReligion contributor Clemente Lisi delves into “How a past and (maybe) future pope are providing crucial leadership in age of Francis.”

Lisi’s timely post is, of course, tied to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI breaking “six years of relative silence with the release of an outspoken letter on the clergy sex abuse scandal,” as NPR characterizes it.

It took awhile for the mainstream press coverage of this document to arrive, so GetReligion will keep paying attention to that. Meanwhile, see additional coverage from the National Catholic Reporter, BBC News and the Washington Post.

2. Most popular GetReligion post: “There’s obviously a lot going on in this guy’s head,” GetReligion’s Julia Duin says of Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke. “I’m hoping that journalists writing future profiles can reveal it to us.”

Yes indeed. And some of the stuff in his head has religious implications.

That insight comes in Duin’s analysis titled “Beto O'Rourke and the eating-holy-dirt story is actually about a Catholic shrine in New Mexico,” which was our No. 1 post of the week.

3. Guilt folder fodder (and more): Hat tip to former GetReligion contributor Ira Rifkin for this link related to this week’s Israel election.

Check out these five things to know about the election, via Moment magazine.

Our continued best wishes to Rifkin as he recovers from his recent health issues! We are glad to hear that he’s doing better. Keep walking forward, friend.

4. Shameless plug: Two major religious press associations held their annual meetings this week: the Evangelical Press Association in Oklahoma City and the Associated Church Press in Chicago.

You’ll recognize many of the names on each group’s list of award winners, including Adelle Banks of Religion News Service. I also want to congratulate my colleague Chellie Ison of The Christian Chronicle for taking the “Best of Class” prize for her social media work. And hey, if you click the links (ACP winners and EPA winners), you might even see my name a few times.

5. Final thought: Our thoughts and prayers definitely are with the man in critical condition. If it’s ever happened to you, you understand how traumatic hearing a differing viewpoint can be.

Happy Friday, everybody! Enjoy the weekend!

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