Heidi Thompson is the new publisher of Religion News Service.

Heidi Thompson is the new publisher of Religion News Service.RNS photo courtesy Heidi Thompson

(RNS) Heidi Thompson, a senior marketing executive with extensive experience working with faith-based communities, has been named Religion News Service’s new publisher after a national search.

Thompson, a former marketing director at Sojourners, a Christian magazine with a focus on social justice, will lead a staff of 16 employees and dozens of bloggers and freelancers.

She begins her new role on July 7.

“RNS is the authoritative source for news on religion and its impact on our world,” Thompson said. “For 80 years, RNS has taken on the challenge of reporting on religion with the mission of promoting human dialogue and understanding. The current RNS team of writers, editors, correspondents and bloggers has carried this tradition with integrity and excellence, and I am honored and proud to step alongside them into this new role.”

Thompson succeeds Debra L. Mason, who led RNS’ transition to nonprofit status under the Religion Newswriters Foundation in 2011, revamped the RNS website and hired key reporters and editors.

In her new role, Thompson will oversee RNS’ digital strategy, media outreach and fundraising initiatives.

“She has the ideal background and expertise to lead RNS in its next chapter,” said  Shona Crabtree, president of the board that oversees RNS. “The board looks forward to working with her and supporting her vision.

“The board also would like to thank outgoing publisher, Debra, for her tireless energy, passion and commitment to RNS,” Crabtree added. “Her work has positioned RNS well to continue its outstanding work as the leading source of religion news.”

Thompson served for six years as chief marketing officer for Sojourners, managing all earned-revenue activities, including an award-winning magazine and blog, advertising sales and e-commerce site. As an online marketing strategist, she’s worked with PICO National Network, the National Alliance to End Homelessness and MoveOn.org.

She earned a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University and an M.S. in integrated marketing communication from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism.

RNS was founded in 1934 by journalist Louis Minsky to provide fair, balanced, nonsectarian news about religion to the secular and religious press.

From its editorial offices in the National Press Club Building in Washington, D.C., RNS provides daily coverage of national and international religion news to some of the nation’s leading news outlets, including The Washington Post, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, USA Today, The Huffington Post, U.S. Catholic and The Christian Century. It is led by Editor-in-Chief Kevin Eckstrom.

RNS’ business office is at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism in Columbia, Mo.


Contact: Kevin Eckstrom, Editor-in-Chief, Religion News Service, 202-662-7301


  1. I certainly hope that Heidi Thompson will see to it that the confusion of replies to comments in RNS is corrected. Presently, one often selects to reply to a particular comment and, when finished and posted, it often appears at other locations than below the comment to which it was a reply. When read out of proper position that way, relevance is lost. If other blogs can do it, it is possible.

  2. Wes Granberg-Michaelson

    Congratulations. Heidi’s proven marketing skills and experience in the changing world of religious journalism will serve RNS well and strengthen its valuable contribution.