Deborah Caldwell, Religion News Foundation (RNF) Chief Executive Officer and Religion News Service (RNS) publisher

Religion News Foundation appoints Deborah Caldwell as CEO, RNS Publisher

NEW YORK — Religion News Foundation is pleased to announce Deborah Caldwell as its new Chief Executive Officer and Religion News Service (RNS) publisher, effective April 6.

A seasoned media executive and award-winning journalist, Caldwell brings decades of leadership experience from corporations, national media and digital startups. Before her current role as vice president of content marketing at Bank of America, she built an e-commerce content marketing strategy for 22 digital magazine brands at Time Inc., created revenue-enhancing editorial initiatives, and led as managing editor.

“It’s a great honor to be named CEO of Religion News Foundation and publisher of Religion News Service,” Caldwell said. “As I come full circle in my career, I am thrilled to bring all my experience together to serve an organization I deeply love and admire.”

During her journalism career, Caldwell covered the religion beat for the Trenton Times and The Dallas Morning News, and served as a co-founder and vice president of content at, a website devoted to religion and politics, inspiration and spirituality. Her accolades have included a Religion News Association (RNA) Templeton Religion Reporter of the Year Award, a National Magazine Award, an Online News Association (ONA) General Excellence Award, several Webby Awards, and a Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellowship. She joined the RNF Board of Directors and its RNS managing board in 2017, and has served as interim publisher of RNS since December.

“After considering many qualified candidates, we realized that Debbie could help RNS/F fully realize its potential,” said Muhammed Chaudhry, RNF Board of Directors chair. “We are confident in Debbie’s abilities and leadership, and we look forward to her beginning this work.”

“For the past three years, Debbie's experience, expertise and networks across corporate strategy, digital media and religion journalism have been tremendous assets to the RNS and RNF boards,” added Nicole Neroulias Gupte, RNS Board of Managers chair. “We are delighted that she will be leading us as we develop new content partnerships, innovative business models and audience engagement initiatives."

Caldwell’s appointment, by unanimous vote of the RNF board, concludes a national search and RNF board member Jerry Pattengale’s successful term as interim CEO.

“Debbie brings considerable experience in monetizing content and navigating the fluid nature of the media world,” said Pattengale. “There is a special excitement with Debbie’s selection, and I’m optimistic about our future.”

During her first 100 days, Caldwell will work with the RNF’s board members, staff, advisers, partners and stakeholders to build on the organization’s fundraising and earned income, content strategy and audience engagement opportunities.

“Throughout my professional career, I have seen the ways that people’s beliefs impact the world around us,” she said. “At a time when the entire globe is grappling with deep anxiety, we know that journalism can play an important role in providing clarity, insight and connection.”


About Religion News Foundation
Religion News Foundation is a secular, educational and charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization affiliated with the University of Missouri School of Journalism. RNF advances religious literacy through websites, resources, networks, training workshops, events and other programs tailor-made for media professionals, corporate clients and the general public. RNF facilitates and encourages discourse about religion in a neutral and informative way without endorsing or promoting any particular belief system or point of view. For more information, visit RNF here.

About Religion News Service
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 Religion News Foundation and the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. For more information, visit

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