The Living Church does a good job with its website, except for the difficult to load picture history of TLC that sometimes comes up slowly, and, oh yes, except for the fact that its news section includes items decidedly driven by opinion.
This is a game played out in broadcast media these days. News broadcasts often end up being interviews between the talking head (the news anchor) in one place and a talking head in another (the reporter) about the opinions of the second about the meaning of the events..blah, blah, blah. Where the news thins out the talk thickens. And at the end the announcer says, "thank you" to the reporter in the field as if getting the reporter's opinion was getting the news.
In TLC's latest foray into reporting of this sort it posted this news item: "California Court Modifies Property Opinion." Indeed it has. But the lead sentence of the article is, "The California Supreme Court has clarified its prior opinion in The Episcopal Church Cases, according to A.S. Haley, a lawyer and Anglican blogger."
A.S. Haley who blogs as the Anglican Curmudgeon may very well have said that the California Supreme Court has clarified its prior opinion. But the news is not that the Anglican Curmudgeon has voiced an opinion about the clarification, but that the CSC has issued it.
What Mr. Haley has done is offer an opinion about what that clarification means. He may or may not be right, but it is hard to say why TLC thinks this is news. The last paragraph of the article finally gets to the news they really wanted to report:
"The Diocese of Los Angeles contends in a press release, however, that the denial for rehearing means that “the matter is finally over,” according to John Shiner, chancellor for the Diocese of Los Angeles."
So the news in this news story is that there is disagreement as to what the clarification means. And the reason why this is news is because TLC believes the opinion of the chancellor is either incorrect or misleading and it has found another opinion.
Fine. Then the title ought to reflect it: "Lawyers disagree about the meaning of the California Supreme Court clarification." It sounds boring... it could be jazzed up a bit, "Lawyers argue over the bones," or "LA Chancellor is wrong says lawyer blogger." Somehow, "lawyers disagree" sounds better than "Chancellor and blogger disagree."
TLC's article is not news, but opinion. Perhaps the new executive director will help TLC clarify just what is news and what is editorial opinion.