SAVE THE DATE! Powerhouse Religious Leaders Headline April 12 NINA Seminar


When it comes to news stories on religion or religious organizations, the hard truth is that we cover soup suppers or scandals — and not a lot in between.

There’s more to religion than those extremes, and the mining of quality stories about faith, spirituality and core beliefs can be invaluable — to news organizations, the religious organizations we’re writing about and, most importantly, to the people we all serve.

You’ll have a chance to gain a better understanding on April 12, when the Northern Illinois Newspaper Association hosts what might be a first-of-its-kind meeting of the minds — a news-training exercise featuring some of the top religious leaders in Northern Illinois.

Save the date, right now. Ask your editor or boss if they’ll pony up for one of the best training exercises and learning experiences you’ll have had in years. If they won’t pay for it, you might just want to pay for it yourself — it’ll be that good.

Committed so far are these powerhouse members of the local religious community:

  • Bishop David Malloy, Catholic Diocese of Rockford
  • Rabbi Margaret Frisch Klein, Elgin
  • Todd Hertz, Christ Community Church
  • Mohammed Labadi, president of the Islamic Center of DeKalb

What will you get from this session? For starters, you’ll get a legitimate story. Send a reporter and make sure he or she posts the results. This isn’t just a training seminar but a summit. And the conclusions we reach on April 12 very well could be a blueprint for news coverage of religion.

You’ll also get practical, hands-on training you can use immediately, including handouts on religious-story ideas, contact lists and links to online resources. You’ll get insights from religious leaders on the stories we’re missing and you’ll get a chance to enlighten those leaders on what you need for a story and when you need it.

You’ll also get the chance to network with colleagues, sharpen the saw and learn something new about your craft.

Save the date — April 12, 2018 — and stay tuned to the NINA website and SIGN UP FOR THE NINA E-NEWSLETTER for details.

Religion & Media

  • When: 10 a.m. Thursday, April 12 (Doughnuts, coffee, registration and networking start at 9 a.m.)
  • Where: Campus Life Building, Room 100; Northern Illinois University
  • Cost: $25, $20 for NINA members, free to NIU faculty/staff and students
  • Register: Call Shelley Hendricks at 815-753-4239

Panelist Bios

The Most Rev. David J. Malloy

Screen Shot 2018-03-05 at 10.22.56 PM.pngThe Most Rev. David J. Malloy is a native of Milwaukee where he was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese there July 1, 1983.

He has been the Catholic Bishop of Rockford since he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI on March 20, 2012. He was ordained and installed as the ninth bishop of Rockford on May 14, 2012.

Malloy brought to Rockford a wide range of experience including being assigned to the Vatican diplomatic service as Secretary to the Apostolic Nunciature in Pakistan and Syria and as Secretary to the Permanent Observer Mission to the Holy See at the United Nations.

He spent three years as Prefecture of the Papal Household then became the associate General Secretary to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2001, becoming the General Secretary in 2006. He served there until he was called back to his home diocese and assigned pastor of St. Francis de Sales Parish in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin in 2011.

The bishop is an active supporter of journalism and communication as he is both the publisher and an award-winning weekly columnist for The Observer and El Observador newspapers for his diocese. He also can be seen on local television in his “Top of the Morning” reflections airing Monday through Friday before the Today Show.

He was General Secretary, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2006-2011. He speaks four languages and rumor has it that he is a fan of the Green Bay Packers.

Rabbi Margaret Frisch Klein

MAR_Frisch Klein_3840.JPGRabbi Margaret Frisch Klein leads Congregation Kneseth Israel Elgin, a congregation  founded in 1892 but fiercely independent and modern. Committed to lifelong learning, meaningful observance, creating community and embracing diversity, the congregation enriches lives and welcomes everyone to experience the joy Judaism can bring.

Recently Hallows Press published her book: A Climbing Journey to Yom Kippur: The Thirteen Attributes of the Divine. It is a guided journal to help people prepare for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

She is a member of the Coalition of Elgin Religious Leaders, the 16th Circuit Court Faith Watch on Domestic Violence, and the U46 Clergy Council and was recently named as a Global Justice Fellow by American Jewish World Service.

Rabbi Frisch Klein earned a Masters in Education at Tufts University and in Jewish Studies at Hebrew College. She was ordained  a rabbi at the Academy for Jewish Religion in New York on May 13, 2010.

Todd Hertz

NINA Todd Hertz MUG

Todd Hertz is the Communications Director of Christ Community Church, a four-campus church based in St. Charles, Illinois.

Previously, Todd worked for media ministries including Christianity Today magazine for more than a decade.

He served as the General Editor of the NIV Quest Study Bible for Teens (Zondervan, 2011), authored The unGuide to Dating (Revell, 2006), and has written for The Chicago Tribune, ChristianityTodayMovies.com, ThinkChristian.net, and more.

Mohammed Labadi

Screen Shot 2018-03-25 at 1.19.13 PMMohammed Labadi, president of the Islamic Center of DeKalb, will be NINA’s fourth panelist.

Labadi said one purpose of the event is to make sure people get their information about Islam straight from the source.

“I keep giving the example, ‘If you want an electrical problem fixed, you don’t go to a dentist – you go to an electrician,’ ” Labadi said. “ ‘If you want a plumbing problem fixed, you don’t go to a doctor; you go to a plumber.’

A bio is pending.


2 thoughts on “SAVE THE DATE! Powerhouse Religious Leaders Headline April 12 NINA Seminar”

  1. Very excited for my fellow journalists to have the opportunity to hear diverse perspectives and take home lots of future story ideas that really matter to their readers!


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