Good­bye Ruth

The Church of England - - Comment -

Ruth Gled­hill, Fleet Street’s last full-time re­li­gious af­fairs cor­re­spon­dent leaves The Times this week and will not be re­placed. Her de­par­ture is prob­a­bly more a sign of the de­cline of the print me­dia than it is of re­duced in­ter­est in re­li­gion. Speak­ing to the Press Gazette, Ruth ar­gued that the job has be­come re­dun­dant be­cause re­li­gion is now so much part of the gen­eral news agenda. She plans to study for an MA in dig­i­tal jour­nal­ism and work in PR for a not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion. Dur­ing her 27 years Ruth achieved a num­ber of scoops, in­clud­ing re­veal­ing the ap­point­ment of Rowan Wil­liams to Can­ter­bury. She also got some things wrong, in­clud­ing a lead story in The Times that claimed Angli­cans and Catholics were on course for a merger. It is a sign of how good a jour­nal­ist she was that it was not un­com­mon to hear bish­ops and church lead­ers com­plain about her but Rowan Wil­liams told The Tablet last week that read­ing news­pa­pers could be good for the soul. “Your most am­bi­tious self-im­age needs to know you may still look a com­plete id­iot,” he said. Writ­ing in the same paper, Ruth’s pre­de­ces­sor, Clif­ford Lon­g­ley, warned that the end of specialist re­porters who un­der­stood their sub­ject meant re­li­gious news would be spun to fit the out­look of news­pa­pers.

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