Dr. Debra L. Mason is among the leading U.S. scholars of how religion is portrayed in the news media. She brings more than 30 years of professional and scholarly experience to her position as curriculum specialist to the Religious Freedom Center of the Freedom Forum Institute.
Dr. Mason is professor of Journalism Studies at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and director of its Center on Religion & the Professions, an interdisciplinary center working to improve religious literacy among professionals and to help them serve a diverse public.
Dr. Mason has played key roles in entrepreneurial efforts to create local, online and sustainable models of professional religion news, resources and training. For instance, she has produced the largest repository of religion resources for journalists, including ReligionStylebook.com and ReligionLink.com.
Since 1997, she’s also directed Religion Newswriters Association, a professional association of journalists writing about religion in the mass media. She is publisher emeritus of Religion News Service (RNS), the world’s only non-sectarian wire service exclusively covering religion.
As publisher, Dr. Mason has led a multi-million dollar expansion that converted RNS from a for-profit to non-profit business model, quadrupled monthly online traffic to more than 1 million unique visitors; created five local niche religion sites, garnered an unprecedented number of industry honors for RNS and oversaw the rebuilding of ReligionNews.com.
Mason holds a doctoral degree in mass communication from Ohio University in Athens, a master’s in journalism from Northwestern University in Chicago and a master’s in theological studies from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio.
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