Religious Literacy Project

by Religion News Foundation
Religious Literacy Project

Dear all,

As the new year approaches, we want to give you an overview of the work of Religion News Foundation (RNF) and Religion News Service (RNS) during 2021.

This year has been a time of great growth for us. Our editorial team is working hard every day to bring readers like you important stories about religion from across the globe. Our journalism is regularly cited by such media outlets as The New York Times, The Washington Post, People, USA Today, The Dallas Morning News, The Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, CNN, and far beyond. Our team grew to include new full-time journalists and columnists; we launched a fellowship program with Interfaith Youth Core; and we created a student internship program with Columbia Journalism School and the Institute for Nonprofit News. Our podcast about two young evangelical women living in New York, “Saved by the City,” continues to build an audience and receive positive reviews.

Our business operations are also moving forward. We brought aboard a development director, Karen Paul, and launched a membership program. We relaunched our wire subscription offering and continue to provide a press release service. Our website hosts the “Religion Hub,” a one-stop shop for religion coverage by RNS, the Associated Press, and The Conversation. This year we also began sharing RNS archival images, digitized and owned by the Presbyterian Historical Society, on our new Instagram account (@rns.at.phs), adding to our suite of social media feeds.

We continue to look for more ways to engage with our audience and bring in new readers. For example, we now offer public photo submissions and improved website commenting to allow readers to engage in conversation with us.

And we remain grateful for the continuing support of Lilly Endowment, Inc., the Guru Krupa Foundation, and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. We are grateful for our many partners, including the Associated Press, The Conversation U.S., News Revenue Hub, the Institute for Nonprofit News, Columbia Journalism School, the Association of Religion Data Archives, the Presbyterian Historical Society, Interfaith Youth Core, Public Religion Research Institute, Sacred Writes, and others.

In the last two months, we have begun an intensive strategic period and are looking ahead at exciting new growth opportunities in the new year. We can’t wait to share these projects with you when they launch!

As always, I remain very grateful to our generous donors. These successes in our nonprofit newsroom wouldn’t be possible without you. 

Best, 

Deborah Caldwell

CEO & Publisher, Religion News Service

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Dear Readers, 

I hope you enjoyed a relaxing summer as we gear up for fall. I’m pleased to share with you this update about the work of Religion News Foundation (RNF) and Religion News Service (RNS) from June to September 2021.

In September, we launched a series on Christian nationalism to help explain the fallout of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The series was made possible thanks to a grant from the Pulitzer Center.

During the summer, we established an internship program with Columbia Journalism School and the Institute for Nonprofit News. We welcomed one intern during the summer and two more this fall. We also launched a fellowship program with Interfaith Youth Core, with whom we will host four fellows for the next year. 

The publishing side of our operation has also made strong strides. We are pleased to announce that, as of this month, we have hired a new Development Director, Karen Paul, who will work closely with me and the rest of the team to encourage a culture of philanthropy and to put in place a fundraising operation.

We also recently launched an Instagram account (@rns.at.phs) with the Presbyterian Historical Society (PHS). This account features historical images from RNS’s 80+ year archive, which is owned by PHS.    

Meanwhile, our relationship with the Associated Press and The Conversation U.S. continues to develop and strengthen. This relationship is made possible by Lilly Endowment Inc. We also continue to work closely with News Revenue Hub on our membership platform and are pleased that our outreach to members has strengthened in the last few months – we look forward to continuing this growth!

We’ll be bringing you more updates. As always, stay tuned for more great work at RNS, and please reach out with questions or comments about our work. 

Sincerely,

Deborah Caldwell

CEO and Publisher, Religion News Service

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To our community,

As we approach the halfway point of 2021, I want to extend my deep gratitude to you—our Religion News Service (RNS) supporters—for all the ways you contribute to furthering our mission. Because of you, RNS was able to accomplish the following milestones in recent months:

  • Building on a strong collaboration between RNS, the Associated Press, and The Conversation U.S., we launched our Religion Hub. The Hub, funded by the Lilly Endowment, works to increase significantly the volume and reach of high-quality news stories about religious faith and practice and the impact of religion in the U.S. and around the world.
  • We have been widely lauded for our ongoing and excellent coverage, specifically of the Southern Baptist Convention and the evangelical community. This coverage has been cited by such publications as the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and others. Our journalism continues to expand to under-covered faith communities, and our podcast, Saved by the City, has completed its first season to rave reviews.
  • We recently launched an internship program with Columbia Journalism School and the Institute of Nonprofit News, and a fellowship program with Interfaith Youth Core. We are thrilled to showcase the work of our upcoming interns and fellows over the next year as we nurture the next generation of religion journalists.

This is just a snapshot of what you enabled. As you can tell, it’s been a busy time for us – but we are just getting started.

Support from individuals like you creates the foundation for everything that RNS does. You allow us to serve as the most trusted resource for news, features and commentary about religion and spirituality and to champion quality religion news coverage. Thank you!

Stay tuned to hear more about the exciting work at RNS. 

With sincere thanks,

 Deborah Caldwell

CEO and Publisher

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Dear readers, 

I’m pleased to share the following update about the work of Religion News Foundation (RNF) and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Religion News Service (RNS) from December 2020 to March 2021. We all know what a turbulent period this has been – and I am pleased to report that we have been working hard to make strides and continue providing excellent journalism to our readers.

We have focused our coverage in the last several months on several issues including the pandemic and the intersection between racial justice and religion. One article on Beth Moore leaving the Southern Baptist Convention, which the New York Times called a “bombshell interview,” is now the second-highest ranked article on our site by pageviews in our history. Further, we have expanded our coverage, particularly on paganism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. We are pleased to announce that we have brought on board Khyati Joshi as a columnist focusing on Hindus and Hinduism and Karen Swallow Prior as a columnist focusing on the evangelical community.

The second season of the RNS series “Anti-Racism as a Spiritual Practice” with host Simran Jeet Singh, has begun, and we recently launched a new podcast on faith in the Big Apple called “Saved by the City” with hosts Roxanne Stone and Katelyn Beaty. 

 We also are pleased to announce that RNS recently became a member of the News Revenue Hub, a nonprofit organization that helps its members understand its audience, develop membership programs and fundraising campaigns, automate time consuming processes, and adopt best practices. 

Our partnerships remain extremely important to us. We are very pleased to have worked with the Association of Religion Data Archives, Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, the Guru Krupa Foundation, the Institute for Nonprofit News, Interfaith Youth Core, the Lilly Endowment, Inc., the Pulitzer Center, Sacred Writes, the Solutions Journalism Network, and University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism.

Many exciting activities lie ahead, and I can’t wait to share them with you!

Thank you for your support,

Deborah Caldwell

CEO, Religion News Foundation

Publisher, Religion News Service 

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Dear Readers:

I am pleased to share with you our update on the work of Religion News Foundation (RNF) and Religion News Service (RNS) from September to December 2020. During a difficult period for the country and the world, we have continued to work hard to provide our audience with objective, timely, and probing content that highlights the central role of religion and belief in people’s daily lives.  

During these past months, RNS has been providing a much-needed perspective on the coronavirus and resultant pandemic, including news and opinion coverage about the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. We also have provided timely and ongoing coverage about religion and race and racial justice initiatives, including articles on: churches’ reparations initiatives; “scholar strikes” for racial justice during which professors at major universities went on strike to protest racial discrimination and police brutality; and the role of white Christianity during the 2020 presidential election season. Further, thanks to a grant from Solutions Journalism Network, we published a series on faith-based get-out-the-vote efforts leading up to the election. Another series, made possible by the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, supported our reporting on the changing nature of global faith-based social service support networks. 

We also are pleased to report that we are participating in the annual Newsmatch campaign.  We are grateful for the donations we receive from this campaign.  

2021 is just around the corner, bringing with it both significant challenges and exciting opportunities. After a long and difficult 2020, I am confident that the RNF and RNS teams will continue to work hard to bring you the excellent and objective coverage on religion and belief that you have come to expect from us.

Thank you for your support. Happy holidays, and stay safe. 

Deborah Caldwell

CEO, Religion News Foundation

Publisher, Religion News Service 

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Religion News Foundation

Location: Columbia, MO - USA
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