Decades ago, award-winning Houston Chronicle religion writer Janice Law left the beat after a major ruckus with her editors. She became an attorney, judge, author and lately the founder of D.C.’s American Women Writers National Museum. While cleaning out clutter recently she came across a Religion Newswriters Association “News Letter” from 1974 and mailed it to the Religion Guy for a look.
Nostalgia flowed while reading about patriarchal mentors George Cornell of The AP and competitor Louis Cassels of UPI, who had just died all too young at age 52, succeeded by David Anderson. Anybody out there remember the bylines of other valued colleagues mentioned in the issue? Try these -- Jim Adams, Jim Bowman, Betty Brenner, Ken Briggs, Russ Chandler, Larry Cohen, Virginia Culver, John Dart, Bill Folger, Marjorie Hyer, Ben Kaufman, Lee Kelly, Betty Medsger, Louis Moore, Dorothy Newell, W.A. (Bill) Reed, Dave Runge, Bob Schwartz, Lee Steele, Dan Thrapp, Hiley Ward, Bill Wineke.
At the time, The Guy was running RNA’s annual contests and 158 newswriters had submitted collections of articles from 1973. There were spot stories, local angles on national disputes, reaction roundups (e.g., Jews, Christians and Muslims addressing the latest Mideast crisis) and other standard fare. Sally Priesand, vastly covered as America’s first woman rabbi, won that year’s “Flack Award.”
The Guy listed features from the entries for an “idea exchange” that’s interesting from a 43-year perspective. Some might even work today. A sampling:
* What do pastors say to parents of a dying, dead, or deformed child? Similarly, pondering why God doesn’t intervene in peoples’ troublesome situations.