Religion news sites launch with nod to community engagement, resources

By Tiffany McCallen
National Community Manager

Religion News LLC

It’s been five weeks since the Spokane, Wash., community caught the first glimpse of in its professional, beta format. The aqua-splashed site is both bright and bustling — a marriage of veteran and citizen journalism intersecting with tools and resources that connect Spokanites to faith and values news.

Nearly three weeks ago, Wilmington, N.C., had its own party to celebrate the beta launch of This is the blueprint coming to life in Religion News LLC’s three-year hyperlocal religion news project, funded by the Lilly Endowment.

Each FAVS (Faith And ValueS) site features daily news and opinion content from site editors Tracy Simmons and Amanda Greene, community contributors and bloggers, national partner Religion News Service and local partnerships with area newspapers and broadcast stations. Special attention is given to multimedia content; we regularly produce original audio, video, photos, polls, slideshows and other media.

In addition to in-depth and engaging religion reports and dialogue, the sites also provide tools to help readers explore beliefs within and outside their traditions, including:

  • A faith-based directory of houses of worship, businesses, organizations and educational institutions, searchable by faith, company type and other data
  • A calendar of community events and religious holidays
  • Press release listings
  • Obituary notices

Already, the FAVS sites are positively impacting their communities. The Rev. Eric Blauer, blogger, shared this: “I appreciate how this site has provided me with some very rich opportunities to engage and grow by an expanding sphere of views and beliefs. Thanks for your work here in Spokane.”

And Annie, a reader, said, “This is such a well-written article. It presents the facts, but offers a personal voice. I love that it is non-judgmental in either direction. We need more of this in our country! It illustrates a story about a Christian… without the usual Christian privilege.”

Next month we’ll formally welcome aboard Missourian Kellie Kotraba to begin work on, which includes a unique partnership with the NPR/University of Missouri affiliate, KBIA 91.3.  Other FAVS sites will follow this July and next January.

Want to apply?

Applications will be accepted through June 1 for potential sites in Athens, Ga., and Hartford, Conn. We also accept site location proposals on an ongoing basis. Details can be found at