`Religion & Ethics' Show First of Its Kind

Article excerpt

Bob Abernethy was an NBC News correspondent in Moscow from

1989 to 1994 when he knew it was time to come home.

A broadcast reporter for four decades, he covered the end of

the Cold War and the collapse of communism and the Soviet Union

before his retirement. Earlier in his career, he wrote

extensively about space exploration and the American black

experience.

But Abernethy may have found his true calling with his latest

assignment. The journalist, who in 1984 studied theology and

social ethics at Yale Divinity School, is executive editor and

host of Religion & Ethics Newsweekly. A first-of-its-kind weekly

news program, the series begins airing at 1:30 p.m. Sunday on

WJCT TV-7.

The PBS show begins like a hard news program, delivering top

stories as in this weekend's planned coverage of Mother Teresa's

funeral. But then it will typically change into a news magazine

format, said Abernethy, who oversees the show at New York City's

WNET.

Reports will be live and taped, with correspondents in the

field and interviews with newsmakers and experts.

Among those set to be contributors are CNN's Arthur Kent,

NBC's Stan Bernard and Mary Alice Williams and NewsHour's Kate

Olson.

What Religion & Ethics Newsweekly will not be is a "religious

show" in the vein of Pat Robertson's 700 Club. There will be no

preaching, the host insists. Rather, the mission statement is to

"cover significant issues and conflicts at the intersection of

religion, world events and public policies."

Last week's debut episode was a case in point. As Princess

Diana's funeral ruled the air-waves, the show presented a

roundtable discussion with an Episcopal priest, a Muslim and a

rabbi.

The subject was the world's spiritual feelings of grief and

affection. …