American Civic Life

Applications Open for Fall 2023 RNS/IA Religion Journalism Fellowship 

By Silma Suba
2023 RNS/IA Religion Journalism Fellows.

2023 RNS/IA Religion Journalism Fellows.

Religion News Service (RNS) and Interfaith America (IA) are pleased to announce the 2023-2024 RNS/IA Religion Journalism Fellowship 

The fellowship, returning for its third year, will span from September 2023 to May 2024. This fellowship serves to develop future religion news journalists by deepening their understanding of religious expression in individual lives and diverse communities. It also aims to develop skills specific to covering religion, belief, faith, and spirituality.  

“The community of inquiry and learning that we built through RNS/IA Fellowship has every bit as exciting and rewarding as the excellent journalism that came out of it,” says Paul O’Donnell, editor-in-chief at Religion News Service. “As we’d hoped, the four fellows improved their religious literacy, but they also brought their own concerns and deepened everyone’s understanding of how faith fits into the issues that they care about.”  

The 2023-24 fellowship builds on the success of the past two years’ cohorts, in which more than two dozen stories by eight fellows appeared on RNS and in RNS subscriber publications.  

Tori Luecking, one of the four fellows in the 2022-23 cohort, wrote about how Muslim rideshare drivers in New York find time and space to pray and how Ukraine’s Hare Krishna community has survived the war.  

“My time in the RNS/IA Fellowship changed my career path as a journalist,” says Luecking, who works as the assistant director of communications at the Gillen Brewer School in New York. “The opportunity to learn from and work with the veteran journalists on the RNS staff was invaluable. I made great friends too, and I’m grateful to for the network the Fellowship has given me.” 

Two of Luecking’s pieces were republished by the Washington Post online and in print. The other 2022-23 fellows, Kyle Desrosiers, Emily Neil, and Amethyst Holmes wrote on religion as it impacted arts and entertainment, immigration, and other fields.  

Over seven months, fellows had the chance to speak with some of the nation’s leading religion journalists including Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Wajahat Ali, Luis Andres Henao and RNS’ Jack Jenkins, among others.  

This year, fellows will again dive deeply into the world of religion news through a series of mentorships with senior journalists, workshops, journalist panels, editorial meetings, tutoring on critical religion resources, and two fully paid trips to the Religion News Association Conference and a writing workshop in Chicago. The fellows, who are awarded a $4,000 stipend, are expected to report and write at least one feature religion story per month, to be published on the RNS website and the Interfaith America Magazine and will receive a fellowship certificate upon completion.  

Fellowship FAQs  

Who is eligible to apply? 

Applications are open to all journalism graduates who have completed their degree in the past three years, and to freelance reporters who may not have a journalism degree but have at least a year of relevant reporting experience.  

What are the fellowship expectations?  

All stories will be planned during monthly editorial meetings and edited by RNS. The stories will be co-published on RNS and Interfaith America websites. Fellows are expected to produce at least one in-depth feature story per month (seven stories for seven months.) To receive the fellowship certificate, fellows must have published at least 4 feature stories by the end of the fellowship and attended all monthly editorial meetings and guest speaker sessions.  

What’s the fellowship timeline?  

The fellowship will begin with an orientation session on September 6, 2023, and conclude on May 29, 2024. What does the fellowship include? A $4000 stipend (paid in four installments), workshops and sessions with renowned religion reporters from across the nation, one-on-one mentorship with RNS and Interfaith America Magazine editorial teams, opportunities to attend editorial meetings and network with reporters and editors in the field, and a fully paid trip to the Religion News Association Conference.  

How to apply  

To apply, fill out this online form. Application deadline is on July 31, 2023.  

For further questions and inquiries email [email protected] 

About Interfaith America  

Interfaith America (formerly known as Interfaith Youth Core) is a national nonprofit that equips the next generation of citizens and professionals with the knowledge and skills needed for leadership in a religiously diverse world. Partnering with civic groups, higher education institutions, public health and business, Interfaith America is dedicated to making interfaith cooperation the norm and building Interfaith America in the 21st century. 

About RNS 

Religion News Service (RNS) 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 several countries. DEI Statement Interfaith America and Religion News Service are committed to supporting work at the intersection of racial equity and interfaith cooperation. We believe in the essential contributions of countless religious and secular traditions that affirm dignity and justice for every human being. We recognize and celebrate that movements for a better world—including the anti-Apartheid movement, and Civil Rights movement—have been fueled by interfaith cooperation. All our programs and projects incorporate a lens of equity and inclusion.