Religion Newswriters Foundation

Exploring Religion and Art through Journalism

  • Religion
  • 2016

Fieldstead and Company, the philanthropy operated by Howard and Roberta Ahmanson, has a special interest in the intersection between religion and art, and often funds exhibitions, creation, research, and journalism on this topic. In 2016 the group made a two-year grant to the Religion Newswriters Foundation to encourage in-depth coverage of the ways that faith spurs artistic production. The money will fund new directories listing experts on religion and the arts, for free use by all journalists. And it will underwrite production of 30 news stories, with photo or video illustration, on “the ways art, both historic and contemporary, is inspired by sacred texts, the faith of artists, ritual practice, private devotion.” These stories, on a topic described by the Religion Newswriters Foundation as “underreported in the mainstream media,” will be distributed nationally through the Religion News Service, which was founded in 1934 and is located at the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism. This donation followed on two 2015 gifts to the journalism school at USC also aimed at improving religion reporting: a $1 million gift from the Lilly Endowment, and a smaller grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.