Hundreds of Godbeat journalists hit the Beltway

The Religion Newswriters Association annual conference is being held over the next few days here in the Washington, D.C. area. The entire GetReligion team will be in town (even the Rt. Rev. Douglas LeBlanc, the co-founder of this operation) to talk shop and most of us will be around for at least some portion of the three-day RNA run. For some of us (OK, me) it's a first-time event. Others are old timers at this conference.

Suffice it to say lots of laptops will be fired up for this one. Bloggers will blog, tweeters will tweet.

I'll be hitting some of the pre-conference panels today, which include the following topics and speakers:

What Should the Boundaries Be on Reporting on Religion and Presidential Politics: Bill Keller, The New York Times; Melissa Rogers, Wake Forest Divinity School; David Campbell, the University of Notre Dame; Amy Sullivan, writer and editor; Moderator: Professor Shaun Casey, Wesley Theological Seminary

Religious Freedom and the Presidential Election: Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter; Joanna Brooks, scholar and author; Melinda Henneberger, The Washington Post; Jerome Copulsky, Prof. American University; Moderator: Professor Michael Kessler, Georgetown University

Overview of Religion in the Election of 2012: Sally Steenland, Center for American Progress; Rev. Thomas Reese, S.J., Georgetown University; Valerie Cooper, University of Virginia; Arsalan Iftikhar, Editor, The Muslim Guy; Moderator: David McAllister Wilson, Wesley Theological Seminary

Bill Keller! Yes, the former New York Times head man.

The pre-conference "Faith & Politics" is, I believe, organized independently of the Religion Newswriters Association by Wesley Theological Seminary, in case you were wondering about their speaker selection or topic areas.

Anyway, we'll be pretty busy over the next couple of days seeing old friends and meeting new ones and learning from the various speakers that have been brought together. We will all do our best to update you on the most interesting panel discussions and speakers and other events that happen.

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