United Methodist Reporter newspaper to close after 166 years of chronicling the church

Tony Pederson, chair of the Journalism Department at SMU's Meadows School of the Arts, talks about the closing of the United Methodist Reporter newspaper.

By Diane Jennings

When Debbie Christian’s mother was dying, she did everything she could to make her comfortable. Finally, when the time came, she could only watch as her mom slowly slipped away.

Christian’s feeling that same sense of grief and loss for the Dallas-based United Methodist Reporter, a 166-year-old Texas institution that is seeing its last days.

“I’m standing vigil for something that’s been very important in my life,” said Christian, director of production for the newspaper who has worked there since 1975.

“I’m in mourning.”

The announced closing of the Reporter, which covered the denomination but was independent of the church, saddened many who remember the critical role it once played uniting Methodists around the country.

The paper’s last day is Friday.

Tony Pederson, chairman of the journalism department at Southern Methodist University, called it “a bad day for journalism and a bad day for Methodism.”

“The Reporter has always been quite a strong voice for Methodists,” Pederson said, “but also just for overall matters of faith.”...