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Diane Winston

Diane Winston holds the Knight Chair in Media and Religion at the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California. A national authority on religion and the media as both a journalist and a scholar, her expertise includes religion, politics and the news media as well as religion and the entertainment media. Professor Winston's current research interests are media coverage of Islam, religion and new media, and the place of religion in American identity.


At the University of Southern California, Professor Winston teaches courses that examine religion as it relates to journalism, visual media, American history and foreign policy. Her class on international religion reporting has taken students to cover conflict and coexistence in Israel and Palestine, and their subsequent work has appeared in outlets including the Washington Post, theJerusalem Post and Huffington Post. “Hollywood, Faith and Media,” her class on spirituality and ethics on television dramas, has hosted writer/directors such as David Shore (“House”), Nancy Franklin (“Saving Grace”) and Ron Moore (“Battlestar Galactica”). The guest lectures are available on YouTube. Professor Winston also has hosted conferences on post-9/11 television and the war on terror, religion and electoral politics, and Islam and the news media.


Professor Winston’s current research in on religion and the news media. She is finishing two books, The Oxford Handbook on Religion and the American News Media (Oxford University Press, 2012) and Heartland Religion: The American News Media and the Reagan Revolution (Oxford University Press, 2013). The Oxford Handbook is an edited volume with sections on world religions, religion and hot-button social issues, the history of religion and the news in the United States, and the religious press. Professor Winston wrote the book’s introduction and a chapter exploring coverage of religion and sexuality in early reporting on AIDS in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Dallas Morning News. Heartland Religion revisits the 1970s and 1980s to explore how the news media contributed to the conservative ideological shift known as the Reagan Revolution.


Between 1983 and 1995, Professor Winston covered religion at the Raleigh News and Observer, the Dallas Times Herald and the Baltimore Sun and contributed regularly to the Dallas Morning News. She has won numerous press association awards and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her work in Raleigh, Dallas and Baltimore. Her articles also have appeared in the New York Times,Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post and the Chronicle of Higher Education among other publications. Winston’s blogging about religion and media can also be found on her Web site, http://www.trans-missions.org.

In 1996, Winston received a Ph.D. from Princeton University. She also holds Master’s degrees from Harvard Divinity School and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Her work in American religion has explored evangelicalism, gender, consumer culture and urbanization. Her published books are Red Hot and Righteous: The Urban Religion of the Salvation Army (Harvard, 1999), Faith in the Market: Religion and Urban Commercial Culture (Rutgers, 2003) and Small Screen, Picture: Lived Religion and Television (Baylor, 2009).

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