Asatru Added to Religion Stylebook and Why Journalist Engagement Matters

Back in July, PRI’s The World did a story on the U.S. Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs approving the Thor’s Hammer emblem for veteran’s grave markers and headstones (here’s The Wild Hunt’s reporting on that story). The story didn’t interview any Heathens, was somewhat flippant towards the faith, and included a picture of someone dressed like the comic book/movie version of Thor. This led Dr. Karl E.H. Seigfried of the Norse Mythology Blog to lodge a (entirely justified) complaint campaign, and it ultimately pushed PRI to do a somewhat more respectful follow-up to their original piece. Now, this incident has led to what might be an even bigger win for practitioners of Asatru, inclusion in the Religion Newswriters Association’s official Religion Stylebook.

What Does a Diminished Religion Beat Mean for Us?

If you’ve been paying attention to some the more prominent religion bloggers lately, you’ll have noticed quite a bit of thought given to the decline of professional reporters on the religion (or God) beat. As newspapers cut their budgets across the country, those who cover religion and faith-related issues are feeling the pinch. “The numbers told the story at this year’s Religion Newswriters Association Conference. It was the 60th time religion reporters from secular news outlets gathered to discuss their craft, gather new story ideas, recognize the best religion stories from the previous year and generally recharge their batteries on a beat that is one of the most challenging and rewarding in journalism … Kevin Eckstrom, editor of the Religion News Service and president of the Religion Newswriters Association, said attendance was half that of last year’s conference in Washington …