I don’t remember what day it was, or what time — only that it was late, and we were all exhausted and ready to be done. The Outlook staff was hunkered down in a small conference room at the Presbyterian Center in Louisville, trying to decide if a story was ready to post before we could be done for the day. We went back and forth about the story’s opening, debating the author’s choice of words, wondering if we had clearly introduced the topic covered.
“Give me a few minutes.” I heard Leslie Scanlon say. “I think we can do better.” She picked up her laptop and left the conference room to find a quiet corner. A few minutes later, Leslie returned with a stronger, clearer opening.
I haven’t worked with Leslie long, but to me, this scene from General Assembly 225 (2022) epitomizes why the Outlook’s national reporter for 22 years has earned her legacy. Leslie is tenacious in pursuing the story, reporting it accurately and providing readers with context to understand why the story matters. Leslie is driven by her call to serve. Her work as our national reporter was never just a job, but an opportunity to live into the gifts God gave her.
Now, Leslie is feeling called to move on to new, creative challenges. Although her work covering our denominational news is concluding, her words will still grace our pages through special investigative stories and freelance assignments. Of course, there is no replacing Leslie Scanlon.
Denominational committees will long note her absence in the back of the room or her name in the Zoom square. But we remain committed to our independent journalism and will continue to cover denominational news through a core group of freelance reporters working under our new managing editor.
I appreciated reading the archival stories we unearthed about Leslie’s beginning at the Outlook in February 2000. It was the culmination of a search for a professional journalist to provide breaking news on our website and offer “the accurate, even-handed coverage that we advocate,” according to John Sniffen, Outlook’s associate editor at the time. Little did they know Leslie Scanlon would go on to serve the Outlook for over two decades, faithfully and tenaciously pursuing the stories of our church, building a journalistic legacy for herself and the Outlook, and winning numerous awards for her writing along the way.
Leslie Scanlon has served the Outlook, the church, and God faithfully and diligently. For this service, we are forever grateful. Thank you, Leslie.