Internet blogs are having an impact both on institutional religion and the ways in which it is being covered by the media, reports an article in RNA-Extra, (July/August), the newsletter of the Religion Newswriters Association. Religion reporter Yonat Shimron writes that bloggers are becoming important new sources for the media. For instance, Rocco Palmo, a 23-year-old University of Pennsylvania graduate runs a blog, that has “been beating the Roman Catholic Church’s communications apparatus at its own game.“
In June, the Southern Baptist Convention “made headlines after a group of bloggers challenged the denomination’s endorsed candidate and succeeded in getting someone else elected,“ Shimron writes. “Bloggers have the ability to wreak havoc on religious institutions used to top-down structures and orchestrated spin control.” Blogging is also changing the nature of the religion beat, as some reporters start their own blogs. Reporters also have to develop contacts with bloggers, who are often specialists in their fields. At the same time, bloggers often want to work with the larger media since it enables them to amplify their message.