CEO and Publisher

Religion News Service appoints Tom Gallagher as CEO and Publisher

tom_gallagher_portraitThe Religion News Foundation (RNF) and its subsidiary, Religion News Service (RNS), are pleased to announce that journalist, lawyer and business executive Tom Gallagher has been appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the foundation and Chief Executive Officer and Publisher of the news service effective immediately.


Jerome Socolovsky, Editor-in-Chief

Jerome Socolovsky has been Editor-in-Chief since November 2015. He came to RNS from the Voice of America, where he was the religion reporter for five years. Prior to that, he spent two decades as a foreign correspondent in Europe and the Middle East, mainly for National Public Radio and The Associated Press. Socolovsky holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. in religious studies from Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an M.P.A. from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

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David E. Anderson, Senior Editor

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, Production Editor and National Reporter

Adelle M. Banks joined the Religion News Service staff in 1995. She previously was the religion reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and a reporter at The Providence Journal and newspapers in the upstate New York communities of Syracuse and Binghamton. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., she spearheaded an RNS project on the March on Washington that won a 2014 Wilbur Award from the Religion Communicators Council. 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.

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Kit Doyle, Photo/Multimedia Editor

Kit Doyle joined Religion News Service in August 2016. He enjoys figuring out the best ways to visually tell stories. Kit earned a B.J. in Photojournalism and a B.A. in Spanish from Mizzou, and holds a Masters of Education from UMSL. Kit has worked as a photojournalist, photo editor and Director of Photography at the Southeast Missourian newspaper and the Columbia Daily Tribune newspaper. In addition to photography, Kit taught high school science and photography classes in Kansas City. Kit’s editorial and freelance photography has appeared in various publications and professional websites.

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David Gibson, National Reporter

David Gibson is a national reporter for RNS and an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He has written several books on Catholic topics. His latest book is on biblical artifacts: “Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery,” which was also the basis of a popular CNN series.

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Mary Gladstone, Copy Editor

Mary Gladstone joined Religion News Service as a copy editor in 2013. She also serves as assistant editor for ReligionLink, an online resource to help journalists cover religion-related stories for the secular media. Gladstone is a freelance writer and editor whose clients also include The Dallas Morning News, where she previously was an assistant metro editor. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and has worked for the Abilene Reporter-News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, as well.

Lauren Markoe, National Reporter

Lauren Markoe covered government and features as a daily newspaper reporter for 15 years before joining the Religion News Service staff in 2011. She was Washington correspondent for The State (Columbia, S.C.), where she won a 2004 first prize for feature writing from the National Association of Black Journalists. She also covered government for the Charlotte Observer and the Massachusetts statehouse for the Patriot Ledger. Markoe holds B.A. in history from Yale University and an M.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

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Emily McFarlan Miller, National Reporter

Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity. Before joining RNS in 2016, she won awards for her work as education reporter at The Courier-News in Elgin, Illinois, and social media manager at the Chicago Sun-Times. Her writing also has appeared in Relevant Magazine, Her.meneutics, Acts of Faith, Crux and more. She graduated with honors from the journalism department at New York University and is working toward a master’s in intercultural studies from the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies and George Fox Evangelical Seminary.

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Rosie Scammell, Vatican Correspondent

Rosie Scammell is a British journalist with extensive experience reporting for leading international news organizations. After a year covering Latin American law in London, she moved to Florence in 2012 to report on EU affairs for the European University Institute. She arrived in Rome the following year to join The Local Europe. Rosie spent two years writing daily news and features on the The Local Italy website, before joining RNS in May 2015 to report on the Vatican. Rosie graduated with distinction from City University London’s MA program in International Journalism, and holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Manchester.

Yonat Shimron, Managing Editor

Yonat Shimron joined RNS in April, 2011 and became managing editor in 2013. She was the religion reporter for The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. from 1996 to 2011. During that time she won numerous awards. She is a past president of the Religion Newswriters Association.

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Kimberly Winston, National Reporter

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. Since 2011, she has covered atheism and other forms of freethought for Religion News Service. In 2014, she received a Wilbur Award for best online news story from the Religion Communicators Council and 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). She is a 1994 graduate of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

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Rachel Lewis, Social Media Manager

Rachel Lewis manages RNS feeds including those on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. She has extensive social media experience working for publications including Tote Magazine and Feather Magazine and is a freelance writer and editor who has published stories in Teen Vogue, Fusion and HelloGiggles. She also co-founded The Fem literary magazine.

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Contributing Editors

Jacob Lupfer, Contributing Editor

Jacob Lupfer is a frequent commentator on religion in American politics and culture. Lupfer has worked in parish ministry and has taught at the middle school, high school, community college, and university levels. His doctoral dissertation at Georgetown University focuses on religious elites in American politics. Lupfer holds a B.A. in biblical studies from Oklahoma Baptist University and a Master of Theological Studies from Boston University School of Theology. His website is


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, D.C. Bryant was raised in Africa and 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.

Fredrick Nzwili (Nairobi, Kenya)

Fredrick Nzwili is a journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya. For more than 15 years, he has written about religion, politics, peace and conflict, development, security, environment and wildlife. His articles have appeared in international media organizations among others; The Tablet, The Christian Science Monitor, The National Geographic and Kenyan local newspapers; The Standard and the People Daily. He holds two degrees from the University of Nairobi – a bachelor’s degree in sociology and literature and a post-graduate diploma in mass communication. He is married and has two daughters.


Tobin Grant

Column: Corner of Church and State

@TobinGrant writes for Religion News Service at Corner of Church and State, a data-driven conversation on religion and politics. He is a political science professor at Southern Illinois University and associate editor of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

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Jonathan Merritt

Column: On Faith and Culture

Jonathan is senior columnist for Religion News Service and a contributing editor for The Week. He has published more than 1500 articles in respected outlets such as USA Today, The Atlantic, National Journal, Christianity TodayThe Washington Post, and Jonathan is author of Jesus is Better Than You Imagined and A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars. His first book, Green Like God: Unlocking the Divine Plan for Our Planet, was  called “a must-read for churchgoers” by Publisher’s Weekly.

As a respected Christian voice, Jonathan regularly contributes commentary to television, print, and radio news outlets. Jonathan has been interviewed by ABC World News, NPR, CNN, PBS, MSNBC, Fox News, “60 Minutes” and The New York Times. He serves on the advisory board for Religion News Service, America’s largest provider of news about religion and spirituality.

Jonathan is a sought after speaker at colleges, conferences, and churches and was recently named one of “30 Influencers Reshaping Christian Leadership” by Outreach Magazine. He holds a Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Master of Theology from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, and resides in Brooklyn, NY.

Twitter: @jonathanMerritt

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Jana Riess

Column: Flunking Sainthood

Jana Riess, a senior columnist at Religion News Service, has been an editor in the publishing industry since 2008, primarily focusing in the areas of religion, history, popular culture, ethics, and biblical studies. (Learn more about her freelance editorial business and rates here.) From 1999 to 2008, she was the Religion Book Review Editor for Publishers Weekly, and continues to write freelance articles and reviews for PW as well as other publications.

She holds degrees in religion from Wellesley College and Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in American religious history from Columbia University. She speaks often to media about issues pertaining to religion in America, and has been interviewed by the Associated Press, Time, NewsweekPeople, the Boston GlobeUSA Today, the Los Angeles Times, and Newsday, among other print publications, as well as “Voice of America,” the “Today” show, MSNBC, and NPR’s “All Things Considered,” “Tell Me More,” and “Talk of the Nation.”

She is the author, co-author, or editor of books including Mormonism and American Politics; The Twible: All the Chapters of the Bible in 140 Characters or Less . . . Now with 68% More Humor!Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My NeighborWhat Would Buffy Do? The Vampire Slayer as a Spiritual GuideMormonism for Dummies; and The Writer’s Market Guide to Getting Published. She blogged for Beliefnet before coming to RNS in 2012.

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Jeffrey Salkin

Column: Martini Judaism

Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin is the spiritual leader of Temple Solel in Hollywood, Fla., and the author of numerous books on Jewish spirituality and ethics — published by Jewish Lights Publishing and Jewish Publication Society.


Mark Silk

Column: Spiritual Politics

Mark Silk graduated from Harvard College in 1972 and earned his Ph.D. in medieval history from Harvard University in 1982. After teaching at Harvard in the Department of History and Literature for three years, he became editor of the Boston Review.

In 1987 he joined the staff of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where he worked variously as a reporter, editorial writer and columnist.

In 1996 he became the founding director of the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and in 1998 founding editor of Religion in the News, a magazine published by the Center that examines how the news media handle religious subject matter. In 2005, he was named director of the Trinity College Program on Public Values, comprising both the Greenberg Center and a new Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture directed by Barry Kosmin. In 2007, he became Professor of Religion in Public Life at the College.

Professor Silk is the author of “Spiritual Politics: Religion and America Since World War II” and “Unsecular Media: Making News of Religion in America.” He is co-editor of “Religion by Region,” an eight-volume series on religion and public life in the United States, and co-author of “The American Establishment,” “Making Capitalism Work,” and “One Nation Divisible: How Regional Religious Differences Shape American Politics.” He inaugurated “Spiritual Politics” in 2007. In 2014 he became Religion News Service Contributing Editor.

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Business Staff

Wendy Gustofson, Sales & Marketing Director

Wendy Gustofson is the Director of Marketing for RNS. 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.

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Natalie Feibish, Web Developer

A member of the RNS staff since 2015, Natalie Feibish (rhymes with “pie dish”) has been working in graphic design and web development since 1994 when a friend introduced her to hyper-text at the University of Illinois. She has since earned her M.Ed. in Educational Technology from the University of Missouri and has been fortunate to work in in many areas of design including print, web, multimedia, education, journalism and online course development. Natalie lives and works in Columbia, Missouri.


Ron Ribiat, Marketing Assistant

Ron joined the RNS staff in 2012, taking over story and press release distribution, comment moderation and other behind-the-scenes Web tasks. He’s also a hero of the Columbia office, having successfully once captured and released a mouse that had taken up residence uninvited.