Mission & Vision
Religion Newswriters Association (RNA) is a 501(c)6 professional trade association working to promote excellence in the coverage of religion and in public discourse about religion. RNA envisions religion
reporting and commentary informed by civility, accuracy, fairness and
RNA was founded in 1949
to advance the professional standards of religion reporting in the mainstream media and to create a support network for religion reporters. The Association's primary projects include an annual conference, contests for religion reporting, membership resources and mentoring. RNA's primary revenue sources are conference registration fees, conference sponsorships, conference exhibits, membership dues and contest entry fees. RNA's Annual Budget is under $200,000. RNA is managed by a part-time team, including an executive director. A volunteer board oversees policies and committees of the RNA.
In 1999, RNA created an educational and charitable arm, the Religion Newswriters Foundation (RNF), which is a 501(c)(3). Since its founding, the RNF has received millions in grants to create tools and training for religion reporters, including our Web site, ReligionLink, the Lilly Scholarships in Religion Program, a religion stylebook and primer, webinars (online seminars) and regional training events, among others. Donations to RNF are tax-deductible and may be designated to one of several scholarship funds, which help send journalists to RNA's Annual Conference. Restricted donations are also allowed to support the work of Religion News Service (see below). Unrestricted donations help RNF support its broad mission of building educational training and resources to help journalists cover religion with accuracy, balance and insight. RNF is managed by a part-time team, including an executive director. A volunteer board oversees policies and committees of the RNF. RNF is not a membership organization. RNF's board meetings are private and the RNF Board does not report to any membership. Other than reserves earned from investments, RNF's budget is predominantly grant and donor funded. However, RNF also receives business revenue for managing the business side of Religion News Service's operations.
RNA and RNF's shared board is to be comprised, according to the bylaws, of 60% RNA members and 40% others who serve the needs of the board and who may be from diverse professions. The officers of RNA and RNF are selected from within the board itself each year at its Annual Conference.
In June 2011, RNF acquired Religion News Service (RNS) from Advance Communications. RNS was established as a separate nonprofit news organization and wire service, owned by RNF. In March 2014, RNS revised its legal structure so that it is now a business operation and LLC owned by RNF and retaining its nonprofit status from RNF. RNS revenues comes from wire subscriptions, foundation funding, public donations and the purchase of other business products. RNS has its own board of managers, which is appointed by the RNF Board. The executive director of RNF sits on the RNS board as a voting member, as does one additional board member from RNF. Donations to RNS may be made to RNF and restricted for use by RNS. RNS is governed by a full-time publisher.
Staff are shared among RNA, RNF and RNS. In addition, the administrative offices of these organizations is housed at the highly regarded Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia, Mo. The University of Missouri provides human resources and payroll services to RNA, RNF and RNS, among other things. RNF and RNA's executive director also is a professor of journalism studies at the University, teaching three courses, advising graduate students, conducting research, and managing the Center on Religion & the Professions. Read older, more extensive accounts of RNA's history
Board of Directors
A shared board of directors governs the Association and Foundation. Active members elect up to 60% of RNA and RNF's board members from among RNA active membership for three-year terms. Board members may serve up to three consecutive terms. Officers are elected for one-year terms. The RNS Board at present has no term limits.
View the board of directors list
Religion Newswriters welcomes volunteers to serve on its committees. If you're interested, contact Debra Mason, 573-882-9257.
- Conference committee
- Membership committee
- Contest committee
- Executive committee
- Fundraising / Financial Stability committee
- Silent Auction committee
- Nominating committee