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Dog bites man: New York Times editor admits ‘We don’t get religion’


Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 12/14/16

That’s one of the scoops from this interview with New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet, who spoke with Terry Gross on NPR’s “Fresh Air.” He discussed the challenges of covering Trump and, late in the interview, brought up the subject of religion:

I want to make sure that we are much more creative about beats out in the country so that we understand that anger and disconnectedness that people feel. And I think I use religion as an example because I was raised Catholic in New Orleans. I think that the New York-based and Washington-based too probably, media powerhouses don’t quite get religion. We have a fabulous religion writer, but she’s all alone. We don’t get religion. We don’t get the role of religion in people’s lives. And I think we can do much, much better. And I think there are things that we can be more creative about to understand the country. That’s how I look at it. I now have two big jobs. Big job one is to cover the most compelling and unusual president we have had in my lifetime. Big job two is to really understand and explain the forces in America that led to Americans wanting a change so much that they were willing to select such a different figure for the White House. Those are my two big jobs.

Readthe whole thing.

Of course, Terry Mattingly has been saying as much for years—as his excellent blogon the media keeps reminding us.  (Check it out!)

When I was in journalism school almost 40 years ago, we were required to take basic courses in things like history, economics and political science, to have a grounding in some of the subjects we might conceivably have to cover out in the real world. To that list, I’d add today world religions. Faith and belief are fueling so much of what is happening in the news today. And too many journalists Just Don’t Get It.

It isn’t that reporters don’t believe or practice religion—many of the people I worked with at CBS News were practicing Christians and Jews, with a significant number of the staffers Catholic—but their understanding of religion is generally not terribly deep. And they too often don’t know enough about any religion other than their own—and don’t have the time or inclination to want to learn more. (Even those who might know a thing or two about their own faith—I’m looking at you, Catholics—really don’t know what they don’t know.)

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