Late last year, a story broke about the impending demise of Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, the almost 20-year-old PBS show that is unique in American journalism. No other network has mounted such an ambitious effort to cover faith and ethics with Washington-based talent and staff.
Those of us on the religion beat were amazed when the show began in September 1997. Imagine, a TV news magazine about ethics (unheard of) and religion (nearly unheard of). Instead of the obnoxious religious TV that constantly hit you up for contributions, R&E had enough funding from the Lilly Endowment to keep those telephones quiet. WNET, whose head office is in New York, produced the show and PBS distributed it.
It also had star power behind it in the person of Bob Abernethy, a widely traveled NBC news correspondent who in his retirement years (age 69) started the show. The show set up shop in offices on H Street, borrowed studio space from Reuters and took off.
Religion News Service told us how it’s all ending two decades later: