Debra Mason


Director, Center on Religion & the Professions

29 Neff Annex
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211-2600

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DEBRA MASON is among the leading U.S. scholars of how religion is portrayed in the news media. She brings more than 30 years of professional and scholarly experience to her position as director of the Center on Religion and the Professions, an interdisciplinary center at the MU School of Journalism that works to improve the religious literacy of professionals, to help them serve a diverse public. Areas of scholarship include religion in the news, cross-cultural communication, media history, and the use of social media and religion. She serves as publisher for Religion News Service (RNS), the world’s only non-sectarian wire service exclusively covering religion. RNS has hundreds of media subscribers and audiences exceeding 40 million worldwide. In addition, she has produced the largest repository of religion resources for journalists, including and Since 1999, she’s also directed Religion Newswriters Association, a professional association of journalists writing about religion in the mass media. Mason has received numerous grants, awards and other honors for her work.

Selected Publications

  • Book Chapters

    • Debra Mason. Reporting on Religion: A Primer on Journalism's Best Beat, Religion Newswriters Association, 2006.
    • Debra Mason, Justin Artf and Amy B. White. An Online Course in Religious Literacy, New Forums: Stillwater, OK., 2011. In the book Fostering Religious Literacy across Campus. Mariam Rosalyn Diamond, editor. Pp. 45-76.
  • Books

    • Debra Mason, Amy White. Investigating Religion: An Investigative Reporter's Guide, Oxford Press, 2013.
    • Debra Mason. Reporting on Religion: A Stylebook on Journalism's Best Beat, Religion Newswriters Association, 2007.
    • Debra Mason, Co-editor, with Judie Buddenbaum.. Readings in Religion as News, Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press, 1999.

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