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Reporting Religion Topic of November 14 Panel at WIU

November 11, 2005

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MACOMB, IL - - A presentation titled “Reporting Religion: A Panel Discussion on the First Amendment, Good Journalism and Faith as a Subject in the Press” will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14 in the Western Illinois University Union Sandburg Lounge.

Presented by Western’s Society of Professional Journalists student organization within the English and journalism department and supported by the Visiting Lectures Committee, the discussion will feature panelists Shirley Ragsdale, Des Moines (IA) Register religion editor, and Leon Lagerstam, Moline (IL) Dispatch religion editor, and moderator Father Kenneth Hummel of Macomb’s St. Francis of Assisi Newman Center on Western’s campus.

Ragsdale was previously a political writer and opinion columnist who, in 2001, was awarded the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism in Editorial Writing for her series on juveniles in the South Dakota Department of Corrections.

Lagerstam, who was raised in northern Illinois and worked for the Freeport and Rockford newspapers, has been a sports writer, obituary writer, education reporter, community editor and religion editor at The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus for the past 15 years. He is also a Lutheran lay minister.

Hummel has been the director of Western’s Newman Center since 2002. He earned a bachelor’s degree in theology at Franciscan University (Steubenville, OH); completed a one-year liberal arts program in Niederosterreich, Austria; and received his Master’s in Divinity at Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary (Emmitsburg, MD). Hummel was ordained to the Roman Catholic Priesthood in 1998.

The presentation is open free to the public.

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