Religion Newswriters Association

The Religion News Association (RNA) is a non-profit professional association in the United States which seeks to promote better reporting on religion in the news media and to provide help and support to journalists who cover religion.[1][2] It was founded in 1949 and in 2007 had 570 members and subscribers.[3][4] Membership in the RNA is open to journalists who regularly report on religion in the secular print and broadcast media.[5][6] Since 2006, the RNA has been associated with the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri.[7] In 2016, RNA members approved a proposal to change the name from the "Religion Newswriters Association" to the current name.[8]

RNA awards scholarships for full-time journalists who wish to take college courses on religion,[9] gives awards and scholarships to college journalists,[10] sponsors seminars and conferences [11][12] and publishes a "primer" for religion reporters[13] and an online style guide,[14] as well as other resources for journalists. RNA is funded by membership dues, donations, and Religion News Foundation support.

In 1999, former RNA executive director Debra Mason said in an interview that the topic of religion is very complex and requires extensive research, something which newspaper editors don't always appreciate.[15] In 2005, Steve Buttry writing at Poynter Online said, "The Religion Newswriters Association does a tremendous job helping reporters learn the beat."[16] RNA was cited by Kenneth G. C. Newport and Crawford Gribben in their 2006 book Expecting the End: Millennialism in Social and Historical Context for helping reporters get in touch with credentialed scholars on religion, leading to better public understanding of religious issues.[17]

Since the 1970s, RNA has published an annual list of the top ten religion-related news stories of the previous year.[18][19] In 1999, RNA was criticized by the Islamic organization the Wisdom Fund for listing a story on a special "Top 10 Stories of The Millennium" list which gave inaccurate information on the history of Islam in India.[20] In the same year, RNA also published a list of the top ten religious news stories of the Twentieth century, with the Holocaust being the most important event.[21]

In 2006, representatives from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Church of Scientology spoke to the annual RNA conference and discussed issues concerning their respective faiths.[22]


  1. ^ Religion Newswriters Association Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine National Society of Professional Journalists, Accessed September 6, 2008
  2. ^ Religion News Becoming Obsolete The Ledger, August 9, 2008
  3. ^ Dolbee, Gorski honored by Religion Newswriters Association North County Times, October 4, 2007
  4. ^ Religion News in Brief ABC News Accessed September 6, 2008
  5. ^ Religion Newswriters Association Council of National Journalism Organizations Accessed September 8, 2008
  7. ^ Debra Mason Named Director of Center for Religion, the Professions and the Public Missouri School of Journalism, September 8, 2006
  8. ^ "RNA members vote to change organization's name to Religion News Association - Religion News Association & Foundation". Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  9. ^ Religion Newswriters Association Scholarship Archived 2011-06-11 at the Wayback Machine Asian American Journalists Association, Accessed September 6, 2008
  10. ^ Ross Todd Named Finalist in Religion Newswriters Association National Contest Missouri School of Journalism, Accessed September 6, 2008
  11. ^ Religion and Politics The Media's One-Dimensional View Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting July/August 1994
  12. ^ "RNA Seminars and Workshops". Archived from the original on 2008-09-18. Retrieved 2008-09-09.
  13. ^ ""Reporting on Religion: A Primer on Journalism's Best Beat"". Archived from the original on 2010-08-10. Retrieved 2010-07-27.
  14. ^ "ReligionStylebook". Archived from the original on 2010-07-27. Retrieved 2010-07-27.
  15. ^ The Local News Handbook Archived 2006-05-28 at the Wayback Machine 1999, The American Society of Newspaper Editors
  16. ^ Help Wanted on Religion Beat: Don't Limit the Talent Pool Steve Buttry, Poynter Online, January 11, 2005
  17. ^ Expecting the End: Millennialism in Social and Historical Context, Kenneth G. C. Newport, Crawford Gribben, Baylor University Press, 2006, ISBN 1-932792-38-4, ISBN 978-1-932792-38-6
  18. ^ 2004 - Year in Review ABC News Accessed September 8, 2008
  19. ^ Buddhist monks’ revolt among top news storiesAnglican Journal February 1, 2008
  20. ^ Religion Newswriters Association Bashes Islam The Wisdom Fund, December 6, 1999
  21. ^ The century -- death by "quasi-religion" Archived 2002-08-22 at Terri Mattingly, On Religion
  22. ^ Faiths 'that don't fit' educate journalists Deseret News September 10, 2006

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