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Inside NCR

New editors appointed for NCR

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Tom Roberts as NCR editor.

Roberts, 51, joined the NCR staff in 1994 and has most recently served as the paper’s managing editor. He replaces Michael Farrell, 65, who is leaving the paper.

In his first act as editor, Roberts named Pamela Schaeffer as the paper’s managing editor.

During the last two years, Roberts has overseen the NCR’s news operation. In that capacity he has assigned stories and worked with NCR correspondents and other contributors.

From 1984-91, he served as news editor at Religious News Service in New York. He was part of a team hired to rescue the service, an independent ecumenical news organization that had fallen on hard times. By the end of his tenure, the service had attained new life and was being syndicated by The New York Times New Service. From 1991-94, he was editor-at-large for the service, frequently writing about Catholic issues. Renamed Religion News Service, it is currently owned by the Newhouse News Service in Washington.

Roberts began his career in daily journalism working for newspapers in Pennsylvania. He spent 12 years at the former Globe-Times of Bethlehem as a reporter and editorial page editor. While working there he won two national awards -- the Thomas L. Stokes Award from the Washington Journalism Center and the Edward J. Meeman Conservation Award from the Scripps-Howard Foundation -- for investigative reporting and environmental writing.

He has written commentary on the church for Newsday. His writing has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and Christian Century.

He began writing on a freelance basis for NCR in 1981, covering labor and peace issues.

Schaeffer joined NCR in 1995 and has most recently worked as the paper’s special projects editor.

In recent years, Schaeffer has gained a reputation for solid coverage of higher education and medical ethics. Her work has earned NCR six Catholic Press Association awards in areas ranging from investigative reporting to profiles.

Schaeffer brings to her new post a strong journalistic and academic background, including 13 years at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where she wrote nearly 1,500 articles on a host of church-related matters. She was nominated three times for a Pulitzer Prize in specialized reporting by the Post-Dispatch editors for her religion coverage in the late 1980s. In 1991, Schaeffer moved to New York, where she worked for Religious News Service as news editor during the years that it was syndicated by the New York Times News Service.

Schaeffer holds a doctorate in historical theology from St. Louis University, where she specialized in the history of American religion and Christian spirituality. She has served as a participant or consultant to several national projects in religion funded by the Lilly Endowment.

She began her career as a freelance writer in St. Louis, covering a wide range of topics, including business, travel, urban affairs and family issues. Her work has appeared in newspapers and magazines around the country, including The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Review for Religious, Christian Century and, most recently, Ms.

NCR has always inhabited a unique niche in both church and secular journalism,” Roberts said, following his appointment. “It has consistently been the best source of news within the church, unafraid to confront the difficult issues while providing a source of renewal and hope for many. I am pleased to carry on that tradition.”

Of Schaeffer’s appointment he said, “She has long been among the top rank of religion writers in the country, and she is an excellent editor who sets high standards for the newsroom.”

Roberts attended Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales and Moravian College in Pennsylvania. He lives in Overland Park, Kan., with his wife, Sara. The couple has four children, Rebecca, Daniel, William and James.

Schaeffer is married to Fritz Schaeffer. The couple has five grown children.

Farrell joined NCR in 1980 and held a number of editing posts over the years. His feature writing was widely acclaimed. He became NCR editor in 1996 and led the staff through a redesign of the paper. He developed an engaging style of interaction with readers through his musing in Inside NCR and through a column he authored, the often irreverent Sic. Farrell spearheaded the highly successful Jesus 2000 art contest, which inaugurated a search for a contemporary likeness of Jesus. The contest stirred widespread debate, and the effort led to two awards, including an individual excellence award for Farrell at the recent gathering of the Catholic Press Association.

Farrell has made enormous contributions over the years to the mission of the paper. He will be missed by his many friends at NCR.

--Thomas C. Fox
NCR Publisher

Tom Fox’s e-mail address is tcfox@natcath.org

National Catholic Reporter, June 30, 2000