Tom Heneghan

Tom Heneghan, based in Paris, is the religion editor for Reuters and founder of Reuters’ FaithWorld blog, and was named European Religion Writer of the Year in 2006. He is the author of Unchained Eagle: Germany after the Wall (Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2000).

Posts by Tom Heneghan:

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Comments don’t replace the news

Pope Francis has called the Internet a “gift from God.” If that’s the case, one has to wonder what message the Almighty wanted to send with this kind of present. The Internet does many good things for religion, such as informing people about each other’s faiths and providing a forum for serious discussion about them. But the same medium that can foster understanding also spreads polarization and deepens existing prejudices. This divine gift sends some decidedly mixed messages.

For a reporter like me, feedback from the public used to consist of occasional letters to the editor, maybe a phone call or a discreet word from a source not completely satisfied with a report. Now, the publication of an online news story is often only the beginning of a long series of exchanges with readers. Some of these are enriching experiences—opportunities to learn more about the subject or to discover leads for further reporting. But many are, frankly, a nuisance and a waste of time.

Read the rest of Comments don’t replace the news.