Over the nearly 15 years of GetReligion's run, I have learned quite a few lessons about content and online clicks.
No, I'm not talking about the sad reality that hardly anyone reads and retweets positive posts that praise good religion reporting in the mainstream press.
I am referring to the fact that GetReligion readers are way, way, way, way less interested in sports that most readers. However, the GetReligion team has always included some sports fans -- in addition to me -- and we persist in thinking that "religion ghosts" and quality reporting on faith issues matter just as much in sports journalism as anywhere else. And we're not just talking about Tim Tebow updates.
This brings me, of course, to the biggest thing that is happening in the world right now. Yes, a news event bigger than that open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
We're talking about World Cup 2018, of course. When you look at global media and passionate fans, nothing can touch it.
Now, there are always religion-news hooks during a World Cup, because religion plays a huge role in most cultures around the world. In the past decade or so, for example, there has been lots of coverage of the strong evangelical and Pentecostal presence on the high-profile squad fielded by Brazil. Of course, some scribes have found political implications of that trend.
This year, if you've been tuned in, it’s been interesting to watch Fox Sports trying to figure out how to handle all of the Russian churches that keep showing up whenever the graphics team needs to produce dramatic, sweeping images of the host nation. Was it just (Orthodox) me or, early on, had the Fox digital tech team removed some crosses from the top of some of those signature onion domes?
Anyway, the religion-news coverage has been rather right, this time around. However, Christianity Today just ran a story that I would like to recommend to journalists who are looking for valid news angles in the Russia World Cup.
Once again, the Brazilian squad is involved, but there's more to this story than that. Check out the dramatic double-decker headline: