Missouri grad announced as editor of new Columbia Faith and Values website

Tiffany McCallen
[email protected]

June 18, 2012

Columbia, Mo. — Faith and values coverage in Mid Missouri is about to get a boost. This July, Religion News LLC, the parent company of Religion News Service, will launch ColumbiaFAVS.com, a community website dedicated to religion and ethics news. Serving as editor of the site is University of Missouri graduate Kellie Kotraba.

Kellie Kotraba

Kellie Kotraba

“Being the editor and community manager of ColumbiaFAVS seems like the perfect way to start my professional life,” Kotraba said.  “I love learning about what people believe and how that shapes what they do, and I'm excited to discover stories waiting to be told in different religious communities. Beyond that, I'm eager to engage with the community to spark thoughtful conversation about faith and values in Columbia.”

Kotraba holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Concordia University Irvine and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. She has reported for the Columbia Missourian, KBIA 91.3 FM (the NPR affiliate for Mid-Missouri), the Concordia Courier and The (Irvine, Calif.) Beat. Her master’s thesis examined how community newspapers frame religion, specifically online coverage.

ColumbiaFAVS (Faith And ValueS) is the third website in a three-year initiative to create local religion news sites in the U.S. where faith coverage is underreported or could be expanded. The sites — which began with SpokaneFAVS.com and WilmingtonFAVS.com — cover beliefs, ethics and ideas from a non-sectarian viewpoint and feature daily news and opinion content from professional and citizen journalists.

In addition to engaging religion reports and dialogue, the sites also provide tools to help community members explore beliefs within and outside their traditions, including:

  • A faith-based directory of houses of worship, businesses, organizations & educational institutions
  • A calendar of community events and religious holidays
  • Press release listings
  • Obituary notices

ColumbiaFAVS.com will partner with several local and national organizations to provide in-depth, diverse faith coverage. They include KBIA 91.3 FM, Religion News Service, regional FAVS sites and others.

Kotraba’s position began June 4. Her site, ColumbiaFAVS.com, is slated to launch mid-July.

Religion News LLC and Religion News Service are headquartered at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism. The community news sites are part of a $3.5 million grant from the Lilly Endowment.