Friday Five: El Paso and Dayton, RNS on scene, Liberty's J-school, whopper correction

Do we really need to know what makes a mass murderer tick?

It’s a question we’ve contemplated previously here at GetReligion. I’ve noted that I personally tire of reading about crazed killers who go on shooting rampages.

After Saturday’s massacre at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, the Dallas Morning News provided extensive coverage.

However, here’s what the Dallas newspaper didn’t do: mention the gunman’s name on the front page.

“Though the shooter’s name would be online and inside the paper, we would not identify him or show his photo on the front page,” Editor Mike Wilson said of the purposeful decision. “Even in the digital age, what we run on 1A is an important expression of our values.”

It’s a small, mainly symbolic gesture, but I like it. Kudos to Wilson and his team.

Meanwhile, let’s dive into the Friday Five:

1. Religion story of the week: The mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, dominated headlines this week, and rightly so.

In a post Thursday, I praised an emotional, heart-wrenching story on one victim’s family published by the Los Angeles Times. I declared that the front-page news-feature just might be “the best religion story you’ll read all year.”

In an earlier post, I highlighted “Thoughts, prayers and Christian nationalists: News coverage after mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.”

2. Most popular GetReligion post: A month-old post by Douglas LeBlanc — “Frederick Brennan created 8chan, hyped eugenics and then became a Christian (-30-)” — came out of nowhere to occupy the No. 1 spot this week.

What gives?

“Well, he did call for 8chan to close shop because it is a common thread among the sociopaths behind some of this year’s worst massacres,” LeBlanc said.

In other words, Google searches after the latest mass shootings drove lots of new traffic to the Brennan post.

3. Guilt folder fodder (and more): On the road again with Religion News Service …

Two of the more interesting religion stories of the week were by RNS national correspondents: Emily McFarlan Miller’s coverage from Milwaukee of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America declaring itself a “sanctuary church body” and Jack Jenkins’ coverage from Charleston, S.C., of Democratic president candidate Cory Booker speaking on gun violence and racism at Emanuel AME Church.

4. Shameless plug: Our own tmatt wrote a must-read post this week on journalism at private universities — yes, that includes the religious ones.

The piece is tied to the recent Washington Post guest essay with the provocative title “Inside Liberty University’s ‘culture of fear.’”

If you missed it, be sure to join tmatt in “Thinking about Liberty University and decades of journalism struggles at private colleges.”

5. Final thought: Uh huh, that’s a whopper of a correction from the Washington Post. ( has more on “The mother of all corrections.”)

Happy Friday, everybody! Enjoy the weekend!

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