Christian Chronicle

A Bible Belt mayor, an extramarital affair and a religion-savvy newspaper

By Bobby Ross Jr. | GetReligion

When the dateline on a news story is Nashville, Tenn., there isn’t always a religion angle.

But almost always?

Yes, that’s a pretty safe statement. At least was the case during the year I spent in that Bible Belt state capital, covering faith and politics for The Associated Press.

In late 2015, I praised The Tennessean’s decision to hire a full-time religion writer — Holly Meyer — after eliminating the position when veteran journalist Bob Smietana left the paper in 2013. In my post two years ago, I proclaimed:

The prodigal Godbeat has come home to Music City!

The USA Today Network publication’s investment in Meyer and religion journalism expertise keeps paying dividends. The most recent example came last week after Nashville Mayor Megan Barry confessed to an extramarital affair.

Way up high in the initial main news story on Barry’s affair, quotes attributed to the mayor hinted strongly at holy ghosts:

Read the full column.

• • •

All of my GetReligion columns (February 2018):

• Friday Five: GetReligionistas out West, In-N-Out’s ghosts, #ShockingNotShocking story and more. Published Feb. 2.

• A Bible Belt mayor, an extramarital affair and a newspaper savvy enough to cover the religion angle. Published Feb. 5.

• There are must-read stories, and then there’s this incredible story on ‘The search for Jackie Wallace.’ Published Feb. 6.

• Beyond sex carnivals and drag queens: Facts appreciated in furor over disinvited campus speaker. Published Feb. 8.

• Friday Five: Olympic miracle, homeless Super Bowl player, faith of TV dad, cheating mayor and more. Published Feb. 9.

• Not the right kind of paper to report both sides? About that story on fired Catholic teacher. Published Feb. 12.

• Hey reporters, wanna know what’s taught in a public school’s Bible class? Ask teachers, students. Published Feb. 13.

• Friday Five: Florida school shooting, Ash Wednesday photo project, Pence’s ‘mental illness’ and more. Published Feb. 15.

• Journalism 2018: The name on the masthead frequently is not as crucial as the one on the byline. Published Feb. 18.

• God credited with shrinking figure skater’s brain tumor, but otherwise terrific story haunted by ghost. Published Feb. 19.

• On question of Texas lesbian parents adopting refugee child through Catholic Charities, media coverage skewed. Published Feb. 21.

• How major papers played Billy Graham’s death on front pages: These bylines will be familiar to many. Published Feb. 22.

• Friday Five: Billy Graham, Billy Graham, Billy Graham, Billy Graham and more Billy Graham. Published Feb. 23.

• A laugh-or-cry correction: In Florida shooting story, AP hears ‘sit and shiver’ instead of ‘sitting shiva.’ Published Feb. 26.

• Sing, pray, preach: Houston Chronicle’s Cowboy Church story masters twang, could use more religion. Published Feb. 27.

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