Kevin Eckstrom joined the RNS staff in February, 2000 and became editor in 2006. Prior to coming to RNS, he worked as religion editor at the Stuart/Port St. Lucie News in Florida. He was the winner of the 2000 Cassels Award for small newspapers from the Religion Newswriters Association. Under his leadership, RNS was named Best Wire Service by the Associated Church Press for both 2006 and 2007 – the only time RNS has won back-to-back years. Eckstrom holds a M.S. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and a B.A. from The George Washington University.
In 2007, he was elected president of the Religion Newswriters Association. His work was featured in Changing Boundaries: The Best Religion News Writing of 2003.
David E. Anderson has been covering religion and social issues for more than 30 years. He began his career with United Press International in 1967 and shortly thereafter began covering the civil rights and antiwar movement. He was named religion reporter in 1972, and continued to cover the ethical and moral issues ranging from the decline of America’s urban areas to church-state issues at the Supreme Court. As part of UPI’s political coverage, he attended political conventions from 1972 on and wrote election night analysis pieces
He has covered half a dozen papal trips as well as meetings of most major denominations and such international organizations as the World Council of Churches. He joined RNS as its Washington correspondent in 1991 and was named editor in 1997. In 2004 Anderson moved to Montana, where he now serves as RNS’s senior editor. He is the author of three books and also serves as a senior consultant to the public television program “Religion and Ethics Newsweekly.”
Adelle M. Banks joined the Religion News Service staff in 1995 after working for more than 10 years at daily newspapers in the upstate New York communities of Binghamton and Syracuse, The Providence Journal, and the Orlando Sentinel.
Before coming to RNS, she was a full-time religion reporter for six years in Orlando, covered the beat during part of her time in Syracuse and contributed to religion coverage at the other papers. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., Banks was a third-place winner in the Religion Newswriters Association’s Religion Reporter of the Year contest in 2011 and 1998. She also has been honored by Associated Church Press.
David Gibson is an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He writes for Religion News Service and until recently covered the religion beat for AOL’s Politics Daily. He blogs at Commonweal magazine, and has written two books on Catholic topics, the latest a biography of Pope Benedict XVI.
David Herrera joined Religion News Service in 2011. He worked previously as a Web Assistant with the Religion Newswriters Association and as a Web Producer at the Detroit Free Press. He holds an M.A. from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a B.S. from Bowling Green (Ohio) State University.
Sally Morrow joined Religion News Service in March 2012. Sally’s interest in photography began in her high school’s dark room. She has since attended film school at the College of Santa Fe, holds a B.A. in Communications and Spanish from UMKC, and holds an M.A. in Photojournalism from the University of Missouri. Her graduate thesis project “Picturing Immigration” was published in News Photographer Magazine.
Sally has worked as a photographer, videographer and photo/multimedia editor at the Des Moines Register, the South Florida Sun Sentinel and Newsday. Her editorial and freelance photography has appeared in various publications and professional websites. In addition to her responsibilities at RNS, Sally currently shoots freelance photography in Kansas City, Mo. and is an adjunct instructor at the University of Missouri.
Elizabeth Bryant (Paris)
Elizabeth Bryant worked as a freelance reporter in Cairo for two years, before moving to Paris in October 2000. Besides Religion News Service, she has reported on a freelance basis for Voice of America, United Press International, Newsweek, the Houston Chronicle and the San Francisco Chronicle. Previously, she worked for several newspapers and wire services in Florida, New York and Washington DC. Bryant was raised in Africaand Europe and worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tunisia. She has a master’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University, and master’s degrees in International Affairs and Journalism from Columbia University.
Michele Chabin (Jerusalem)
RNS Middle East correspondent Michele Chabin has covered events in the region for 18 years. In addition to her work at RNS, Chabin writes regularly for the New York Jewish Week and National Catholic Register and is a contributor to USA Today and numerous other publications. She has won several awards from the American Jewish Press Association for Jewish journalism (including one for a first-hand account of the evacuation of Jewish, Muslim and Christian residents from war-torn Sarajevo) as well as first-place honors from the Catholic Press Association. A graduate of Brandeis University, Chabin was awarded a British Chevening Scholarship and Press Fellowship at Cambridge University, England. The home she shared during the fellowship contained a Hindu, a Sikh, two Muslims, a Jew, an Orthodox Christian and a Catholic, “a harmony that deepened my love for religion-based reporting,” she says.
Ron Csillag (Toronto)
Ron Csillag joined RNS in March 2002 and covers eastern Canada. Based in Toronto, he contributes feature stories. He also writes about religion for the Toronto Star, and is a regular contributor to the Globe and Mail and a variety of religious publications. His work has also appeared in the National Post. For 10 years, he was a reporter for the Canadian Jewish News, where he won a Rockower Award for Excellence in Jewish Journalism. In 2002, he was awarded an Eli Lilly Fellowship to complete the Specialized Reporting Program in Religion, Spirituality and Ethics at Northwestern University in Chicago. In January 2003, he was nominated by the Globe and Mailfor a National Newspaper Award. He has also worked as a television news producer in Montreal and Toronto. Csillag was born in Montreal and is a graduate of Concordia University’s journalism program.
Amanda Greene (Wilmington, N.C.)
Amanda Greene is the editor of WilmingtonFAVS.com. She has been a journalist working in North Carolina for the past 12 years. She’s spent the last decade writing about faith in the Cape Fear region. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Amanda has won journalism awards from the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors (now the Society for Features Journalism) and The New York Times. Her work has been published nationally in the Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Christian Century, Religion News Service and The Salt Lake Tribune. And she once spent a blessed month at Duke Divinity School.
Kellie Kotraba (Columbia, Mo.)
Kellie Kotraba is the editor of ColumbiaFAVS.com. Prior to joining the FAVS team in June 2012, she covered Columbia for the Columbia Missourian and KBIA 91.3 FM, the local NPR affiliate. She was also an assistant editor at the Missourian. She holds an M.A. from the University of Missouri School of Journalism; she wrote her thesis on how religion is covered in community newspapers, specifically online. She holds a B.A. in English from Concordia University Irvine.
G. Jeffrey MacDonald (Mass.)
G. Jeffrey MacDonald is an award-winning reporter and an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. His work has appeared in five books as well as TIME magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, USA Todayand the Washington Post, among other national publications. For in-depth coverage of religion, he’s received six awards from the Religion Newswriters Association and the American Academy of Religion. He is the author of Thieves in the Temple: The Christian Church and the Selling of the American Soul (Basic Books, March 2010). He received his Master of Divinity degree cum laude from Yale Divinity School in 2000. He lives in Massachusetts.
Omar Sacirbey (Boston)
Omar Sacirbey is a Boston-based correspondent for Religion News Service and other publications. In 2008, he was a finalist for the Religion Newswriters Association Templeton Reporter of the Year award, and in 2007, he placed third in the American Academy of Religion news writing contest. In 2005, he was an Alicia Patterson Foundation Journalism Fellow, focusing on Muslims in North America. Before journalism, he was an advisor with the Bosnian Foreign Ministry, serving at the United Nations in New York, and in Sarajevo and The Hague. He holds masters degrees from the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, and the Columbia University School of Journalism. He also writes about business, foreign affairs, politics, and food.
Tracy Simmons is the editor and community manager of SpokaneFAVS.com, an online publication that covers faith news in the Spokane area. She has written about faith for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas, Connecticut and Washington state. She holds an MA in Communication and a BS in print journalism, with a minor in theology. In 2009 Simmons was awarded the American Academy of Religion Award for Best In-Depth Reporting on Religion and in 2011 she won the Religion Newswriters Association’s Schachern Award for Online Religion Section of the Year.
Ann Marie Somma serves as the editor and community manager of HartfordFAVS. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and is working toward a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Fairfield University. She’s been a journalist for more than 15 years and has worked for a variety of newspapers in Connecticut, including the Hartford Courant where she dabbled in religion news. Her work has been recongized by the Society of Professional Journalists, which in 2003 awarded her first place in the breaking news story category, and in 2005, she won second place for her feature writing from the New England Associated Press News Executives Association.
Al Webb (London)
Al Webb works as a freelance journalist. In addition to writing for Religion News Service, he covers news and writes features for United Press International and the Washington Times, is an op-ed contributor to the Baltimore Sun and is weekend co-editor at the London bureau of the Voice of America. Previously he was a reporter-writer for 28 years with UPI in North Carolina, Cape Canaveral, and the Houston Space Center. He was a war correspondent in Vietnam, and latterly in Iran, Iraq and Beirut, for UPI and later with U.S. News and World Report. He has also served on news assignments in Hong Kong, Brussels and London, and has worked as a freelance journalist for the past six years. Webb was raised in North Carolina and Tennessee, was educated at Duke University and began his journalist’s career at The Knoxville Journal.
Kimberly Winston (San Francisco)
Kimberly Winston is a freelance religion reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, USA Today, The Washington Post, The San Jose Mercury News and Newsweek. She is also a frequent contributor to Beliefnet.com and ReligionLink.org. In 2005, she was the recipient of the American Academy of Religion’s award for best in-depth religion reporting. She is the author of three books, including Bead One, Pray Too: A Guide to Making and Using Prayer Beads (Morehouse, 2008) and blogs at kimberlywinston.wordpress.com. She is a 1994 graduate of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
David Yonke is the editor of Toledo Faith and Values. A veteran reporter, editor, and author, his name is familiar name to many area readers for his many years at The Blade newspaper including the last 12 years as religion editor. Yonke is the author of the nonfiction book, "Sin, Shame & Secrets: The Murder of a Nun, the Conviction of a Priest, and Cover-up in the Catholic Church," published by Continuum International Press in 2006. He has taught at the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University and appeared in the Acadamy Award-nominated documentry film "Twist of Faith."
Jonathan is a faith and culture writer whose hundreds of articles have appeared in outlets like USA Today, The Atlantic, and National Journal. His most recent book is "A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars."
Michael J. O’Loughlin writes about religion and politics from Washington, D.C., paying close attention to the role of the Catholic Church in public life. His writing has appeared in the Jesuit magazine America, on BustedHalo.com, and in Duke Divinity School’s Faith & Leadership.
Debra Mason is a former award-winning reporter who has covered, researched and written about religion in the news for nearly 30 years. She is executive director of Religion Newswriters and Director of the Center on Religion & the Professions at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Mason earned an MSJ degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a Ph.D. in Mass Communication at Ohio University. She also holds an MTS degree.
Wendy Gustofson is the Director of Marketing for Religion News LLC. She has 28 years of experience in broadcast sales and management, most recently as VP of Sales with the Barrington Broadcasting Group. She has served on several boards, and is an active member of Rotary.
Yonat Shimron is the development director for Religion News LLC. She was the religion reporter for The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. from 1996 to 2011. During that time she won numerous awards, including the Duke Divinity School’s Award for Excellence in Religion Reporting eight times. She is the past president of the Religion Newswriters Association.