Debra Mason


Director, Center on Religion & the Professions

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

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DEBRA L. MASON is among the leading scholars and trainers of how religion is portrayed in the 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 world-renown Missouri School of Journalism working to improve the religious literacy of professionals so they can better serve a multi-faith public. In addition, she has produced the largest repository of religion resources for journalists, including and Since 1997, she’s also directed Religion Newswriters Association, a professional association of journalists writing about religion in the mass media. She is publisher emeritus 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 to more than 1 million unique visitors; created five local niche religion sites, garnered an unprecedented number of industry honors for RNS and oversaw the rebuilding of’s front and backend. She has played key roles in entrepreneurial efforts to create local, online and sustainable models of professional religion news, resources and training. 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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