Religion plays a significant role in communities across the country, from shaping lawmakers’ approach to legislation to how people view themselves and their neighbors. Understanding these nuances as a journalist can be difficult, especially when many local newsrooms struggle to maintain dedicated coverage of any beat, let alone religion.
Report for America is building a coalition of partners to reverse this, thanks to philanthropic support from the Henry Luce Foundation and Radiant Foundation, and through training and editorial guidance from the Religion News Association and Religion News Service.
“By partnering together, we are poised to double the size of our religion reporting corps in 2024, including both religion-exclusive and religion-related beats,” said Kim Kleman, executive director of Report for America. “This will allow newsrooms to do deep reporting on stories where faith meets gender, education, politics and democracy itself.”
Report for America is now accepting applications from news organizations interested in partnering to host emerging and experienced journalists in their newsrooms for up to three years, beginning next summer.
“The efforts of journalists and other media makers are essential to advancing knowledge of religion’s complex and contested place in American public life, and to strengthening public understanding of the great diversity of religion in the United States and beyond,” said Jonathan VanAntwerpen, program director for religion and theology at the Henry Luce Foundation. “We are grateful for this opportunity to support Report for America’s innovative work, through funding that will help expand the size of its religion reporting corps and meaningfully connect reporters with scholars, faith leaders, and other public knowledge makers.”
“Radiant Foundation’s Faith & Media Initiative is honored to partner with Report for America and support local newsrooms with a program that equips journalists with the confidence, knowledge, and tools to enrich their storytelling – ensuring religion and faith are portrayed in an accurate, substantive way,” added Brooke Zaugg, Radiant Foundation’s executive director.
Beyond funding salaries and training for journalists in the program, the collaboration will support local events across the United States over the next year featuring reporters, editors, faith leaders, scholars, and other interested parties.
“We have an amazing opportunity here to not only create a more-informed public but to bridge divides between the media and undercovered communities,” said Earl Johnson, vice president of recruitment and alumni engagement at Report for America. “By working together we build a stronger country for all.”
Newsroom leaders interested in applying can go here. To learn more about hosting a Report for America corps member to cover religion, visit www.reportforamerica.org or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Report for America
Report for America is a national service program that places talented emerging journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered topics and communities across the United States and its territories. By creating a new, sustainable model for journalism, Report for America provides people with the information they need to improve their communities, hold powerful institutions accountable, and restore trust in the media. Report for America is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, an award-winning nonprofit journalism organization dedicated to rebuilding journalism from the ground up.
About the Henry Luce Foundation
The Henry Luce Foundation seeks to enrich public discourse by promoting innovative scholarship, cultivating new leaders, and fostering international understanding. Established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time, Inc., the Luce Foundation advances its mission through grantmaking and leadership programs in the fields of Asia, higher education, religion and theology, art, and public policy.
About the Radiant Foundation
The Radiant Foundation values the power and potential that both media and faith have to drive change and foster a more robust, resilient world and believes that the stability, strength and confidence of our societies will only improve by bringing faith and media closer together for a more accurate, nuanced depiction of faith in news and entertainment.
About the Religion News Service
Religion News Service (RNS) is an independent, nonprofit and award-winning source of global news on religion, spirituality, culture and ethics, reported by a diverse staff of professional journalists. RNS doesn’t endorse or promote a particular religion, creed or set of beliefs or non-beliefs. It is guided by a three-pronged journalistic approach: balance, accuracy, and insight. RNS is a subsidiary of Religion News Foundation and a member of the Institute for Nonprofit News.
About Religion News Association
As the premier journalism association for people who cover religion in the news media, RNA equips journalists with the tools and resources they need to cover religion with balance, accuracy and insight. Learn more at RNA.org.