Friday Five: Rachel Zoll update, Notre Dame fire, bad vibrations in NYC , Kent Brantly's next mission

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This week, GetReligion’s Richard Ostling visited longtime Associated Press religion writer Rachel Zoll, who is staying with her sister Cheryl in Amherst, Mass.

Ostling and Zoll worked together as AP’s national religion team for years.

Most know that Zoll, recipient of awards last year from AP and the Religion News Association, has been coping with brain cancer since January 2018.

She passed along the following message to her many friends on the Godbeat: “I miss you all. I love hearing what people are doing and working on and wish you the best.”

By the way, Ostling is now on Twitter. Give him a follow!

Now, let’s dive into the Friday Five:

1. Religion story of the week: Once again, we have no clear honoree this week. So I’ll call your attention to Terry Mattingly’s post on a must-read New York Times multimedia report on the Notre Dame Cathedral fire.

In his post, tmatt also links to Clemente Lisi’s piece on how French church vandalism cases finally are starting to get the journalistic attention they deserve.

2. Most popular GetReligion post: The most-clicked commentary of the week was tmatt’s post titled ”Hey CNN: Was a Catholic-school teacher in Indianapolis fired for 'being gay'? Period?” That’s definitely worth a read.

But here’s my question: How did this next one — which finished a close second — not go totally viral? In any case, tmatt wins this week’s headline-writing award for “Bad vibrations: Riverside Church war offers perfect case study of @NYPost vs. @NYTimes.”

3. Guilt folder fodder (and more): Last week, I highlighted news coverage from Mississippi of a male gubernatorial candidate, a female reporter and a Pence-like storm over the “Billy Graham rule.”

This week, the controversy added a new wrinkle as a second candidate said he will adhere to the rule.

Spoiler alert: the latest story from the Washington Post — linked above — has more ghosts than the original coverage.

4. Shameless plug: I interviewed Dr. Kent Brantly for The Christian Chronicle on his plan to return to Africa as a medical missionary five years after contracting the Ebola virus and nearly virus. (After news of an Ebola outbreak in Congo, I shared more of Brantly’s thoughts on serving “with compassion despite fear.”)

I appreciated Religion News Service picking up the story and distributing it on its national wire.

I did not appreciate Fox News plagiarizing my original report and publishing its “own” story. Maybe there will be changes forthcoming?

5. Final thought: Oh my! We do not live in boring times.

Happy Friday, everybody! Enjoy the weekend!

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