Religion Reporters

Eloise Blondiau covers Catholics. She is a producer at America Media, and a graduate of Harvard Divinity School. Find her on Twitter @eloiseblondiau.

Michelle Bocanegra covers the Bahá’í faith. She spent nearly two years researching and reporting for Law360, a legal news publication, and is a student at Columbia Journalism School. Before that, she contributed to lifestyle and culture publications and taught in public schools around New York City. Email her at mpb2190@columbia.edu.

Radha Dhar is covering Ahmadi Muslims in New York City and will be reporting on Sharia law courts in Palestine and Israel. She has previously worked for news outlets based in the US, China, and India on international news, culture, & tech beats, and is a former NBC and CNBC intern. Follow her on Twitter: @TheRadhical or email her at Radha.D@columbia.edu for comments or tips.

Isabella Farr covers the Mormon Church. She came to Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism straight from New York University Shanghai, where she studied comparative politics and Chinese. Find her on Twitter and Instagram at @isabellarfarr.

Leah Feiger covers Orthodox Judaism. Before attending Columbia Journalism School, she lived in Rwanda and worked as a freelance journalist covering culture and gender. Her work can be found at The Forward, Ozy, Culture Trip, and Fodor’s. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @leahfeiger.

Zachary Folk covers progressive Judaism. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh where he studied English and film. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a teacher in the South Bronx. He can be found on Twitter @zacharypfolk.

Haleluya Hadero covers Mainline Protestants. Before coming to Columbia Journalism school, she graduated from The George Washington University with a degree in Political Science and worked in refugee policy. She’s passionate about politics, culture, and all things Africa. Email her at hah2142@columbia.edu.

Jonathan Harounoff covers the Seventh Day Adventist Church and is this year’s managing editor. Before Columbia Journalism School, he completed his undergraduate studies in Arabic, Farsi and Middle Eastern studies at Cambridge University, as well as completing postgraduate studies in International Relations and Diplomacy at Harvard University. Some of his work has been published by The Forward, The Jerusalem Post, Religion News Service (RNS), The Harvard Gazette and The Jewish Advocate. He can be reached on Twitter and at jonathan.harounoff@cantab.net.  

Natacha Larnaud covers Sunni Muslims. She is a French journalist who grew up in the Middle East and Spain and North Africa. She Speaks fluent French, English and Spanish and knows basic Arabic.  Before Columbia, she studied journalism as an undergrad at the University of Miami, then worked for a year as a reporter at Univision, a Spanish-speaking newscast.

Anisha Sircar covers Sufi Islam. She is an international studies graduate of FLAME University, India. Before coming to Columbia Journalism School, she was an editorial intern at The Caravan Magazine and a Summer Research Fellow at the Indian School of Business. She can be found on Twitter, Instagram and at https://anishasircar.contently.com

Giacomo Tognini covers the Druze. In the past, he’s worked for Bloomberg News in New York and the Jakarta Globe in Jakarta, Indonesia. Before coming to Columbia, he graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. You can find him @giacomotognini on both Twitter and Instagram.

Tatyana Turner covers Eastern Orthodox Christianity. She is currently a part-time student at the Columbia Journalism School and currently works as a writing tutor for students in grades K-12. Before attending Columbia, she was a hyperlocal news reporter in the Bronx and graduated from Temple University. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter @tatyanacturner.

Paul de Villepin covers evangelical protestants. He is a dual degree Sciences Po/Columbia journalism student from France. Before coming to the J-school, Paul interned at several French media outlets, including the catholic national daily La Croix. Follow his work on Twitter @Devillepinpaul.

Eleonore Voisard covers Sephardic Jews in New York City. Prior to Columbia, she studied broadcast and multimedia journalism in Paris. She produces visual stories and can always be found with a camera in her hand. She has lived in Lebanon and spent enough time in the Middle East to communicate in Arabic that she doesn’t want pickles in her shawarma. You can follow her on Instagram or Twitter.

Sara Weissman covers Shia Islam. Before going to Columbia Journalism School, Weissman wrote for Religion News Service and served as the editor of New Voices Magazine. She graduated from the University of California Berkeley with a degree in history and a minor in religious studies. For gifs and God beat tweets, follow her @SaraWeissman.

Staff

Professor Ari L. Goldman, a former religion correspondent for The New York Times, has been teaching the “Covering Religion” seminar at Columbia since 1993. This year’s study-tour is the 18th he’s led with Columbia students. In past years, the class has gone to Russia, Ukraine, Italy, India, Ireland, Israel, Jordan and the West Bank. Professor Goldman was born in Hartford, Conn., and was educated at Yeshiva University, Columbia and Harvard.  He is the author of four books, including the best-selling The Search for God at Harvard. His new book, The Late Starters Orchestra, was published in June 2014.

Gregory Khalil is the co-founder and President of Telos, a Washington D.C.-based non-profit that equips American leaders and their communities to better engage seemingly intractable conflict. Much of Telos’ work has centered on the role of faith leaders and culture shapers in  America’s relationship to Israel/Palestine and the broader Middle East. Prior to founding Telos, Greg was a legal and communications adviser to Palestinian leaders on peace negotiations with Israel. Greg is also a founding member and chair of the board of directors of Narrative 4, a global non-profit that seeks to use story and media to cultivate empathy across divides. He has lectured internationally and his writing has appeared in The New York Times and The Review of Faith & International Affairs. Greg is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles and Yale Law School. He co-teaches “Covering Religion” with Professor Ari Goldman.

 

Melanie Huff is the Associate Dean of Students at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. This is her fourth time accompanying the Covering Religion class on its annual study tour. She has been to India, Ireland, Jordan, Israel and Palestine with the class.  Dean Huff has degrees from Barnard College and Teachers College, both of Columbia University.

Thea Piltzecker is a documentary filmmaker and a 2018 Pulitzer Crisis Reporting Fellow. Her associate producer credits include PBS, Vice, NBC and independent documentaries. She is the U.S. field researcher for an international sociology of religion study based in Abo, Finland. Thea is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and Bard College. She can be reached at @theapiltzecker on Twitter and @thealation on Instagram.

Ophir Yarden studied Middle East Studies at the University of Chicago and has pursued advanced Jewish studies at the Shalom Hartman Institute and the Schechter Institute of Judaic Studies, both in Jerusalem. Ophir is a senior lecturer in Jewish and Israel Studies at Brigham Young University’s Jerusalem Center. He teaches at many other Jerusalem Institutions including Hebrew University, Hebrew Union College, the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem as well as at several other Christian seminaries, colleges and universities including the Bethlehem Bible College. He is an activist in Arab-Jewish dialogue and in the Israeli peace movement. Ophir is the Director of ADAShA – Jerusalem Center for Interreligious Encounter, and served as the scholar-in-residence for GODLAND: Reporting Journey to Israel and Palestine.

David Mora is an investigative journalist and graduate of Columbia Journalism School. Some of his writing has appeared on Mexican outlets, such as Reforma and El Universal, and more recently on NBC News. Before pivoting to journalism, he worked for five years as a human rights advocate, researching into some of the most pressing issues in Mexico, including violence, migration and freedom of the press.