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Cathleen Falsani named senior editor of Religion Dispatches

The veteran journalist brings expertise and experience to USC Annenberg’s online magazine

by USC Annenberg staff
Religion Dispatches hires award-winning journalist Cathleen Falsani as Senior Editor for new project
Cathleen Falsani has covered the election of Pope Francis in Rome. (Photo/courtesy of Cathleen Falsani)

Cathleen Falsani, an award-winning religion journalist, will spearhead coverage of the changing landscape of American religious practice, identity and belief in Religion Dispatches.

As senior editor for the daily online magazine about religion, politics and culture, Falsani will lead the three-year “Remapping American Christianities” project. She will work alongside Lisa Webster and Evan Derkacz, the magazine’s co-editors.

Besides launching the new initiative, Falsani will work with students at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism who are interested in covering religion and spirituality.

The Christianities project is funded by a $1 million grant the Lilly Endowment Inc. awarded to USC Annenberg School in December. The magazine is overseen by Diane Winston, holder of the Knight Chair in Media and Religion.

Cathleen is one of the country’s leading religion journalists.

Diane Winston

“Cathleen is one of the country’s leading religion journalists,” Winston said. “She has an unerring sense of how people live out their spiritual commitments and find meaning in their daily lives.”

Papal coverage

Falsani was religion writer for the Chicago Sun Times from 2000-10 and most recently religion columnist for the Orange County Register, where she covered the election of Pope Francis in Rome and his first pontifical year. She served as Web editor and director of new media for Sojourners magazine and she has been a longtime contributor and columnist to Religion News Service.

Her writing has appeared on numerous media outlets, including Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Christianity Today, The Atlantic and TIME. Her sixth and most current work explores the spiritual, social, cultural, political and technological reasons for Pope Francis’ popularity.

“I am thrilled to be joining colleagues who are passionate about serious journalism at the intersection of faith and culture.” Falsani said. “The Remapping American Christianities project will explore the root questions behind shifting cultural expressions of identity, meaning and lived beliefs that are inextricably tied to the American experience.”

Falsani, who holds degrees from Northwestern University and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, was honored as the 2005 James O. Supple Religion Writer of the Year by the Religion Newswriters Association and twice has been a finalist for the Templeton Religion Reporter of the Year award.

Launched in 2008, Religion Dispatches has been nominated for a Webby Award three of the last four years. In 2014, it had 2.7 million unique views. The site moved to USC Annenberg in October 2013.

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Cathleen Falsani named senior editor of Religion Dispatches

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