Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Packer Fan Follows 'Vince Lombardi'

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Packer Fan Follows 'Vince Lombardi'

Article excerpt

As someone who once lived in Wisconsin, Mark O'Keefe remains a big fan of the Green Bay Packers. So when asked what it's like to succeed David E. Anderson as editor of Religion News Service, O'Keefe replies: "I'm following a legend in religion journalism. I feel like Phil Bengtson trying to replace Vince Lombardi as Packers coach."

But O'Keefe, who started on Sept. 13 as RNS editor, has a better chance at success than Bengtson did. "Mark has been involved in reporting on religion and values for many years, and really cares about those topics," says Deborah Howell, Washington bureau chief and editor of Newhouse News Service, which owns RNS.

O'Keefe doesn't plan major changes at RNS, which he says is doing fine as it nears its 70th anniversary. But O'Keefe intends to speak with clients to get feedback, and wants RNS to improve coverage of Islam and Asian religions. "We'll also do more enterprise reporting, while continuing to cover the news," he adds.

There's certainly lots of news to cover. Religion has always been a significant force in American life, but the last few years have brought it to the front pages of many newspapers. Among the domestic and global issues with a direct or indirect religious component are the 2004 presidential race, the power of the religious right, gay marriage, the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, 9/11, Islamic fundamentalism, the Israeli-Palestinian carnage, and -- in the entertainment realm -- topics like Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ.

The secular RNS covers all this and other subjects with stories by staff writers, regular correspondents, and stringers; reporting from Newhouse papers; and via guest columns, photos, and graphics. …

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