General story RNS Press Release Service

Religion News Service appoints G. Jeffrey MacDonald as interim Editor-in-Chief

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Religion News Service, a news agency dedicated to secular coverage of religion, ethics, and spirituality, welcomes G. Jeffrey MacDonald as interim editor-in-chief.

An award-winning journalist and author who has written for Religion News Service (RNS) since 1998, MacDonald is stepping into the role previously held by Jerome Socolovsky, who served in the role from 2015 to 2018, and Kevin Eckstrom, who served from 2006 to 2015.

“Religion News Service holds an important place in the landscape of religion coverage and I’m honored to be given this opportunity to help guide it at this pivotal time,” MacDonald said. “I deeply value the organization and its significant contributions to religious literacy and interfaith dialogue, in America and internationally.”

A seasoned religion reporter, MacDonald has won five Wilbur awards from the Religion Communicators Council (RCC), five awards from the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and three awards from the Religion News Association (RNA), including Templeton Reporter of the Year. He’s covered faith, business and historic trials for a variety of national publications including TIME magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Boston Globe and The Christian Science Monitor. His 2013 book, Thieves in the Temple: The Christian Church and the Selling of the American Soul, earned third place in RNA’s Religion Nonfiction Book of the Year contest.

“Having written for Religion News Service as a correspondent for 20 years, I’m grateful to have this opportunity to work even more closely with some of the best religion journalists in the business,” MacDonald said. “We’ve worked side-by-side on many stories over the years; they are true pros. I look forward to working with them again and helping this great news organization through a season of transition.”

Between assignments, MacDonald can often be found outdoors in New England — sailing, kayaking or snowshoeing, depending on the season — or proving that vegetarian cooking can be mighty tasty. An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, he holds a Master of Divinity degree, which he received cum laude from Yale Divinity School, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in U.S. history from Brown University.

“The RNS Board of Managers is thrilled that Jeff is stepping in oversee daily operations and work closely with our CEO and staff to continue advancing our mission over the coming months,” said Nicole Neroulias Gupte, chair of the RNS Board of Managers. “We look forward to working with him in this new capacity, and for his insights as we launch a national search for our next editor-in-chief.”

“As we thank Jerome for his contributions to RNS and wish him all the best in his future endeavors, we are so pleased to welcome Jeff to this role,” added Tom Gallagher, RNS CEO & Publisher. “Jeff’s excellent character, religion expertise, and journalism experience make him a valuable addition to our team.”

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Religion News Service is an independent, nonprofit and award-winning source of global news on religion, 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 affiliated with the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. For more information, visit www.religionnews.com.

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