Dr. Debra L. Mason (PhD, MSJ, MTS) is among the leading thought leaders and entrepreneurs of how religion is portrayed in the news. She brings more than 35 years of professional and scholarly experience to her position as a Delegate at 1791 Delegates.
Dr. Mason currently serves as a 2018-2020 fellow of the Center on Religion & the Professions at Harvard Divinity School and is a co-founder of Taboom Media, which conducts media training and monitoring programs intended to catalyze ethical journalism about taboo human rights topics.
Dr. Mason is professor emerita at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, where she directed the Center on Religion & the Professions — a Pew Center of Excellence — for 12 years. Dr. Mason also played key roles in creating local, online and sustainable models of professional religion news, resources and training.
During her two decades leading Religion News Association and as founding director of its nonprofit arm, Dr. Mason raised nearly $20 million via more than 75 successful grants for religion coverage, training and tools. She built the largest body of resources on reporting religion for journalists, by journalists, including ReligionStylebook.com and ReligionLink.com.
As publisher of Religion News Service, the world’s only non-sectarian wire service exclusively covering religion, Dr. Mason led a multi-million dollar expansion that converted RNS from a for-profit to non-profit company, quadrupled monthly online traffic, created five local religion sites, expanded staff to an all-time high, garnered unprecedented industry honors for RNS and managed the rebuilding of RNS’s web site at the time.
Dr. Mason is a former award-winning journalist, a frequent speaker at International events and a scholar in the coverage of spirituality from origin to its emergence on digital platforms. Mason’s published work includes
► Investigating Anti-LGBTQI+ Hate: A Reporting Guide for Journalists (Co-author with Brian D. Pellot, 2019);
► Covering Sexual and Gender Minorities & Religion in Sub-Sahara in Africa (Contributor, 2017);
► Reporting on Religion: Covering Journalism’s Best Beat, 2nd edition (Publisher and Editor, 2016)
► Reporting on Religion: A Stylebook on Journalism’s Best Beat, 2nd edition (Publisher and Editor, 2016);
► An Investigative Reporter’s Guide (Co-author with Amy White, 2013), and
► Readings in Religion as News (Co-author with Judith Buddenbaum, 2000).
Mason earned an MSJ from Northwestern University, an MTS from Trinity Lutheran Seminary and a PhD in Mass Communication from Ohio University. She is the proud mother of three adult children and adores traveling the globe with her husband of 28 years, Jack.