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SPECIAL EVENT: The Religion Beat: From Celebrations to Scandals

Wednesday, October 31, 2018  
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Religion News Service and RNA’s student chapter at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism invite you to a special event on November 19.

“The Religion Beat: From Celebrations to Scandals,” will feature a conversation between RNS Editor-in-Chief Bob Smietana and Columbia University Professor Ari Goldman. They’ll discuss the future of religion journalism, how to objectively cover faith, how religion intersects with other beats and what makes a great religion story.

An award-winning religion reporter and editor based in Nashville, Smietana has spent two decades producing breaking news, data journalism, investigative reporting, profiles and features for RNS, Christianity Today, The Tennessean, USA Today and The Washington Post. He is best known for his coverage of Islam and Islamophobia, including comprehensive reporting on the Murfreesboro mosque conflict, and of evangelical Christianity, including breaking news from the Willow Creek Community Church scandal. He was appointed editor-in-chief of RNS in August and now manages a growing global team of reporters and columnists creating content for and media outlets that subscribe to its wire service.

Goldman serves as Director of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism’s Scripps Howard Program in Religion, Journalism and Spiritual Life. He teaches the school’s “Covering Religion” seminar, which will include a reporting trip to Israel in Spring 2019, and “The Journalism of Death & Dying.” Before coming to Columbia, Goldman spent 20 years at The New York Times. In addition to teaching on the university level, Goldman is on the faculty of the School of The New York Times where he teaches the course “Writing the Big City: Covering New York,” and is a member of the RNS Journalism Advisory Council.

This event is free and open to the CJS and entire Columbia University community, as well as members of the public interested in learning more about covering religion and Religion News Service. The conversation will take place 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 19, in Pulitzer Hall, Room 607B, 2950 Broadway, New York NY 10027. Please RSVP at

This event is sponsored by the Columbia Journalism School’s Religion News Association chapter.


Religion News Service is an independent, nonprofit news organization that covers spirituality, culture and ethics, reported by a staff of professional journalists. Founded in 1934, RNS seeks to inform readers with objective reporting and insightful commentary and is relied upon by secular and faith-based news organizations in a number of countries. RNS is a subsidiary of the Religion News Foundation and affiliated with the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. For more information, visit

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