softball

A refresher course for journalists: What to do when you hear words like 'God,' 'prayer' and 'faith'

A refresher course for journalists: What to do when you hear words like 'God,' 'prayer' and 'faith'

Sunday’s front page of The Dallas Morning News featured side-by-side profiles of the two candidates for mayor of the city of 1.4 million people: Eric Johnson and Scott Griggs.

I was particularly interested in the piece on Johnson since the publication where I work, The Christian Chronicle, reports on Churches of Christ, and he is a longtime member of Churches of Christ.

I was curious to see if the Dallas newspaper — which, as we often lament, has no religion writer — would delve into the faith angle.

This profile, after all, was a “window into his soul” kind of profile aimed at giving voters an idea of what makes Johnson tick. The candidate talked about growing up poor in Dallas, and the reporter interviewed and one of his elementary school teachers as well as childhood friends and a former law professor.

See anybody missing from list of interviewees?

How about a minister or Sunday school teacher or fellow churchgoer?

“Well, maybe his faith didn’t come up in the reporting,” someone might protest.

Actually, that’s not true.

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Hey NPR, did Democratic House members 'think' of their GOP colleagues? Or did they 'pray' for them?

Hey NPR, did Democratic House members 'think' of their GOP colleagues? Or did they 'pray' for them?

In early media coverage of today's attack on Republican lawmakers at a congressional baseball practice, a tweeted picture of Democrats praying for their GOP colleagues went viral. And rightly so.

"This is beautiful and good," one writer commented.

I have to agree.

But in an email to GetReligion, a reader quibbled with how one leading news organization — NPR — chose to characterize the heartwarming scene.

From NPR's story:

Members of the Democratic Party's team were practicing elsewhere Wednesday morning; after the attack, they tweeted a photo of themselves taking a moment to think of their colleagues.

Can you spot the word that sparked the reader's concern? Let's hear from him:

The coverage from NPR includes the tweet itself but uses an unusual description in the reporting text to describe the photo. ... Know of any other time where "think" gets substituted for "pray" in reporting? Would the substitution have been used had the roles been reversed?

Good question. It does strike me as strange wording.

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