Outspoken but quiet, conservative but progressive: Media profile U.S. Catholic bishops' Latino leader

GetReligion | 11/14/2019 | Bobby Ross Jr.
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Here’s a surefire way to make headlines: Do something significant — and this part is crucial — do it for the first time.

Such was the case with this week’s election of Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles as U.S. Catholic bishops’ first Latino leader.

Religion - Writers - New - York - Times

Prominent religion writers — including the New York Times’ Elizabeth Dias, the Washington Post’s Julie Zauzmer and Religion News Service’s Jack Jenkins — were on the scene for the milestone vote. It helps, of course, that the bishops met in Baltimore, an easy drive or train ride from those journalists’ base in Washington, D.C., and New York City.

Other familiar names — The Associated Press’ David Crary, the Wall Street Journal’s Ian Lovett and the Los Angeles Times’ Sarah Parvini — covered the news remotely (Crary from New York and Lovett and Parvini from Los Angeles). The WSJ piece was more of a brief (four short paragraphs), but the financial newspaper at least acknowledged Gomez’s election.

Coverage - Gomez - Archbishop - San - Antonio

Before analyzing all the coverage, I’ll note that I first became familiar with Gomez when he became archbishop of San Antonio in 2005. Based in Dallas, I covered religion for AP at the time. So I traveled to San Antonio to meet Gomez and do a story on him stepping into a new role as the leading Hispanic cleric in the U.S.

I remember him being friendly, but not overly talkative. These were my favorite two paragraphs of the piece that I wrote for AP’s national wire:

Gomez - Sense - Humor - Mass - School

Gomez showed that sense of humor as he recalled how he started attending daily Mass as a high school student in Monterrey. A sign of a future archbishop’s deep commitment to the church? Perhaps. But it was also a good way to get the car keys.

“The only way that my dad let me drive was to...
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