Douglas LeBlanc

Friday Five: El Paso and Dayton, RNS on scene, Liberty's J-school, whopper correction

Friday Five: El Paso and Dayton, RNS on scene, Liberty's J-school, whopper correction

Do we really need to know what makes a mass murderer tick?

It’s a question we’ve contemplated previously here at GetReligion. I’ve noted that I personally tire of reading about crazed killers who go on shooting rampages.

After Saturday’s massacre at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, the Dallas Morning News provided extensive coverage.

However, here’s what the Dallas newspaper didn’t do: mention the gunman’s name on the front page.

“Though the shooter’s name would be online and inside the paper, we would not identify him or show his photo on the front page,” Editor Mike Wilson said of the purposeful decision. “Even in the digital age, what we run on 1A is an important expression of our values.”

It’s a small, mainly symbolic gesture, but I like it. Kudos to Wilson and his team.

Meanwhile, let’s dive into the Friday Five:

1. Religion story of the week: The mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, dominated headlines this week, and rightly so.

In a post Thursday, I praised an emotional, heart-wrenching story on one victim’s family published by the Los Angeles Times. I declared that the front-page news-feature just might be “the best religion story you’ll read all year.”

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Friday Five: Godbeat grant, Sri Lanka bombings, Easter perspective, Israel outlook, softball hot dogs

Friday Five: Godbeat grant, Sri Lanka bombings, Easter perspective, Israel outlook, softball hot dogs

I’ve highlighted it twice this week — here and here — but I’m still contemplating that big Lilly Endowment Inc. grant for religion reporting.

In case you missed my earlier posts, the $4.9 million Global Religion Journalism Initiative — long a topic of speculation — was confirmed this week.

It’ll fund 13 religion journalist positions at The Associated Press, Religion News Service and The Conversation and create a partnership resulting in RNS content going to AP subscribers.

The Global Religion project has the potential to be really, really awesome (to borrow one of RNS editor in chief Bob Smietana’s favorite adjectives). But the ultimate verdict will rest in the implementation and what happens beyond the initial, 18-month grant period.

Here’s wishing the involved entities all the best in that process!

Now, let’s dive into the Friday Five:

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Happy 13th birthday, GetReligion! My wish as we enter the teenage years

Happy 13th birthday, GetReligion! My wish as we enter the teenage years

Oh no.

GetReligion has entered its teenage years, as tmatt noted this morning.

In case you need it, here's some advice on how to survive this awkward time for your favorite journalism-focused website (we are your favorite, right?).

But seriously, folks ...

Thirteen years is a long time for blog to survive. When Terry Mattingly and Douglas LeBlanc launched GetReligion in 2004, I was covering religion for The Associated Press in Dallas. "Blog" was one of Merriam-Webster's "Words of the Year" that same year, but — as I recall — I didn't become familiar with the concept until leaving AP and joining The Christian Chronicle in 2005.

I can't recall exactly how I found GetReligion or when, but I was an avid reader of the site before joining the team of contributors in March 2010. That was — gulp! — nearly seven  years and 11,943 email conversation threads ago. At least that's how many threads my "GetReligion story possibilities" folder shows right now — I may have deleted one or two threads over the years.

At GetReligion's 10th anniversary in 2014, I shared "Five things they didn't tell me" about this gig. None has changed (see my original elaboration on this points here):

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