Debra L. Mason

Professor Emerita

DEBRA L. MASON is among the leading scholars and trainers of how religion is portrayed in the media, with more than 35 years of professional and scholarly experience working to improve the religious literacy of professionals so they can better serve a multi-faith public. As a professor emerita, Dr. Mason remains an active scholar, graduate committee member, international trainer, nonprofit manager and consultant. In addition, she envisioned, raised funding for, and built the largest repository of religion resources for journalists, including and She directed Religion News Association for nearly two decades and retired recently as founding director of RNA’s nonprofit supporting foundation. Mason is publisher emerita of Religion News Service (RNS), the world’s only non-sectarian wire service exclusively covering religion. As publisher, she led a multi-million dollar expansion that converted RNS from a for-profit to non-profit business model, quadrupled monthly online traffic, created five local niche religion sites, garnered an unprecedented number of industry honors for RNS, and oversaw the rebuilding of’s site. She has raised nearly $20 million for her philanthropic work. Mason is a frequent guest speaker and international trainer. Clients and audiences have included the British government, U.S. State Department, United Nations, The White House, private foundations, International Press Institute, public television and radio stations, Harvard Divinity School, and the Newseum. She is a course creator and professor for the Religious Freedom Center at the Newseum Foundation and co-Founder of The latter she formally incorporated in 2018 with former Mizzou student and Marshall Scholar Brian D. Pellot.

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Updated: July 30, 2019