You're online at The New York Times, scrolling down the home page in search of Religion. Under the News heading you see Business, Technology, Science, Sports, and so on—but no Religion. Maybe under Features? Hmm: Dining & Wine, Home & Garden, Crossword/Games … but no Religion. It's not as if Times editors simply ignore religion—think of the excellent regular Saturday column featuring Peter Steinfels and others—but maybe they don't want to draw too much attention to it.
Well, the Times is quintessential Blue America, as David Brooks calls it: urban sophistication, East or West Coast-style. Ditto The Washington Post, where Religion also fails to make the navigation bar (though on the left coast, the online edition of The Los Angeles Times passes the test). And what about my home paper, the Chicago Tribune, in the heart of Red America? You've got Bears, Cubs, and assorted other sports franchises; you've got a generous list of Weekly Features—but still no Religion.
Strange, isn't it? After all, religion plays a part in many Americans' lives almost as significant as wine or stocks or the daily crossword. Which is why the pioneering religion coverage of The Dallas Morning News (www.dallasnews.com)—where you will find Religion on the navigation bar, as well as a substantial section every Saturday in the print edition—has been winning awards and readers (including plenty of media types) since the paper started a freestanding Religion section in December 1994. Someone seems to get it! Religion is important; religion is news; religion should be covered accordingly. Q.E.D.
Robert Mong Jr., president and editor of the News and a longtime champion of expanded coverage of religion, says that the paper "produced a prototype for a Religion ...1
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