Friday, July 18, 2008

Garrett and Pinsky Make the Cut

Veteran religion journalists Lynn Garrett (Publishers Weekly) and Mark Pinsky (Orlando Sentinel) have made the rolls of those who have lost jobs due to recent staff reductions at newspapers and periodicals. Might this be the beginning of a trend to cut religion reporting?

Terry Mattingly, at GetReligion, comments, "I remain convinced that religion is a topic that makes the palms of many editors sweat in an unnatural way. They just don’t get it. They don’t get why religion is so important to so many people. Thus, it is hard to value the work of professionals who are driven — for a variety of reasons — to focus on this topic in mainstream journalism. The religion beat remains, in way to many newsrooms, a marginal affair."

Christianity Today reports, "Over his 13 years on the religion beat, first at the Los Angeles Times then at the Sentinel, Pinsky established a reputation for being one of the best reporters on the beat. His beat was broad, but in the hometown of Campus Crusade for Christ, Wycliffe Bible Translators, and Strang Communications, Pinsky developed a particular expertise in evangelical Christianity. He recounted his experience and reporting in a book, A Jew Among Evangelicals. . . .

Pinsky also established himself as must-read reporter on the nexus of faith and entertainment culture. Westminster John Knox recently published an expanded version of his 2001 The Gospel According to The Simpsons, and in 2004 published his similar book, The Gospel According to Disney.

Lynn Garrett was cut when Reed Business Information slashed 41 employees in early June. Penton layed off 42 employees just two months after CEO John French announced a hiring freeze and asked company managers to reforecast all revenue and expenses for 2008.

Meredith layed off 60, eliminating positions from its book division and from its broadcasting division. Taunton, the Connecticut-based publisher of hobbyist magazines has cut 9 employees from its workforce

These are hard times for journalists, but especially hard for religion journalists. Now is when their faith gets tested!

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