Posts tagged: Sally Quinn

Where’s Waldo? Looking for Religion in The Times and The Post

By , January 16, 2011 7:39 pm

I’ve always wondered why the front page of The New York Times has no hyperlink to Religion in its online edition. There’s a link to U.S. and N.Y./Region, to Technology and Sports, to Science, Business, Arts, and Sports, among others, but Religion? Apparently not important enough or big enough for a link of its own.

What about The Washington Post? I wondered. Sally Quinn used to edit a section or department called something like On Faith, I remembered, largely because I recalled reading a panel discussion where she betrayed an almost total–maybe it was total–lack of knowledge about Mormonism, my faith. In fact, the only knowledge she had came from Martha Beck’s horrible little book Leaving the Saints. So I check out The Post, and to my surprise, there is a hyperlink to a Religion section on the front page. The link leads to On Faith. Sally Quinn lives!

Of course, even The Times covers religion, where the practice seems to be to cover the subject by region of the World. For instance, The Vatican Welcomes First Anglicans appears in a subsection devoted to Europe, Egypt Sentences Muslim appears in the subsection Middle East.

But The Post’s, approach is more deliberate and gives the impression that the paper takes religion more seriously. That said, Sally Quinn is in charge, so the religion of choice is often the United Church of Perpetual Palin Bashing (the comment at 8:48 PM on January 16 is priceless, reminding me of James Taranto’s Two Papers in One nuggets in Best of Web, which always seems to catch one section of The Times contradicting the other).

Anyway, unless I missed something, The New York Times, its failure to give religion its own section or department is an important and telling omission. Not that The Times ignores the subject. But hey, religion and belief (or non-belief) are a major part of our culture. In contrast, The Washington Post at least has a section devoted to religion and faith. Does the difference matter? Is the difference more than skin deep? I hope to answer these and other questions over the next few weeks.

Next Sunday, I’ll sample the writing on the subject of religion in each paper to see if The Times can redeem itself.

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