Religion and Media Scholar Diane Winston named Annenberg Center Faculty Fellow

Diane WinstonDr. Diane Winston, USC professor and the Knight Chair in Media and Religion at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, has been named a faculty fellow of the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy (CCLP), director Geoffrey Cowan announced today.

As a faculty fellow at the Annenberg Center, Winston will focus on how and where coverage of religion fits into the rapidly evolving news media, and how new technologies are opening up and changing global conversations about values and meaning.

“It’s an exciting time to be at the Annenberg Center since it’s focusing on some of today’s most pressing issues,” said Winston. “I’m looking forward to working with other CCLP fellows like Irshad Manji to place the Center and USC Annenberg at the forefront of discussions about the role of the media and journalism in conversations about faith, ethics, and moral courage in a time of profound technological change.”

“Diane Winston is one of the country’s foremost authorities on religion and the media as both a journalist and a scholar, and we are delighted to bring her on board as our newest faculty fellow,” said Annenberg Center director Geoffrey Cowan.

Professor Winston’s current research interests include media coverage of changing Christianity, religion and the entertainment media, and the role of religion in American identity. She teaches courses at USC 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, growing secularism in Ireland, and elections in India. In addition to partnering with Global Post and KPCC, she has helped students place their work in outlets including the Washington Post, the Jerusalem Post, Der Spiegel and the Atlantic.

 “Hollywood, Faith and Media,” her class on spirituality and ethics on television dramas, has hosted writer/directors such as David Shore (“House”), Barbara Hall (“Joan of Arcadia” and “Madame Secretary”) and Ronald Moore (“Battlestar Galactica” and “Outlander.”). The guest lectures are available on YouTube. Winston also has hosted conferences on post-9/11 television and the war on terror; religion and electoral politics; Arab democracy in post-Arab Spring era, and the Syrian refugee crisis. In fall 2015, she organized a Visions and Voices event, “Windows on Death Row” that featured editorial cartoons and art work from Death Row prisoners that illuminated the issue of capital punishment.

Winston is currently working on several research projects, including three books: Un/Real Religion: Religion and Reality TV, an edited collection; Lost and Found: Religion in Los Angeles, also an edited collection and A Shining City: Religion, News and Reagan’s America. Her other books include: The Oxford Handbook on Religion and the American News Media (Oxford University Press, 2012); Small Screen, Big Picture: Television and Lived Religion, editor, (Baylor University Press, 2009); Faith in the Market: Religion and the Rise of Urban Commercial Culture, co-edited with John Giggie, (Rutgers University Press, 2002); Red-Hot and Righteous: The Urban Religion of the Salvation Army, (Harvard University Press, 1999). Winston is publisher of Religion Dispatches, a daily online magazine on religion, politics and culture, and she is on the executive board of the International Society for Media, Religion and Culture. Since 2006, Winston has received 14 grants for her work.

Between 1983 and 1995, 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 have appeared in the New York TimesWashington PostWall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and the Chronicle of Higher Education among other publications..

Winston received a Ph.D. in Religion from Princeton University. She also holds Master’s degrees from Harvard Divinity School, the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Brandeis University.