Getting started

Welcome to my blog. “On Religion,� I’m calling it.

I approach the whole thing with trepidation.

Why? First off, I’ve grown quite comfortable writing in the detached, pseudo-objective, third-person voice of a newspaper reporter. An article may have my byline on it, but I’m removed from the words. Like a narrator you hear but don’t see, I suppose.

Now I’m blogging. I still have to write what I see and hear and observe. But I can no longer pretend I’m not there. I have to be part of it. Like a host or a guide. Gary Stern in first person. “I. I. I. Me. Me. Me.�

Second, writing about religion, as a journalist, isn’t always easy. I’ve been on the beat for almost 10 years, trying to explain and interpret events in the religious realm. I do so while trying hard not to (unintentionally) offend any group, denomination, movement or sect.

I have a feeling that it will be easier to offend by blog.

If I write in my own voice while trying to make sense of some conflict, I can see partisan-types taking my observations as signs of bias or an agenda.

But maybe not. We’ll see.

Journalism evolved from the keeping of journals, right? Maybe a blog is just a modern journal. That’s how I’m going to look about it.

I’m writing notes and thoughts in my journal. But instead of translating them into newspaper-ese, my notes – succinct, pithy and insightful – become this blog.

The world of religion is an awfully big place. I’ll try to touch on events and trends, people and ideas, that are important or interesting (or even, on a good day, both). Let’s see how it goes.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.