Endy Bayuni and Douglas Todd are the IARJ new Executive Director and Chair fo the Executive Committee.

Endy Bayuni in a city at night
Endy Bayuni, IARJ new Executive Director

The International Association of Religion Journalists is pleased to announce the election of Endy Bayuni, senior editor at the Jakarta Post in Indonesia, as Executive Director.

Bayuni, an award-winning editor, brings his wise and thoughtful voice to the need for more and better writing about faith issues to the world of journalism.

He replaces David Briggs, a U.S.-based religion reporter, editor and researcher.

Douglas Todd
Douglas Todd, new Chair of the Executive Committee

In addition, Douglas Todd, religion and migration writer at Canada’s Vancouver Sun, has been voted in as Chair of the Executive Committee.

Todd’s wide-ranging coverage and in-depth explorations over decades will help guide the international organization in the years to come.

He replaces Maria-Paz Lopez, senior feature writer for La Vanguardia in Spain.

Lopez, who has been a tireless advocate of excellence in religion reporting, was chosen by her peers to lead the burgeoning organization at the group’s founding meeting in Bellagio, Italy.

That 2012 gathering included nearly two dozen journalists from more than 20 countries who came together to discuss how best to examine and report on the role of faith in their respective nations.

During that three-day meeting, participants worked to create a common mission statement, believing that religion plays a vital, though different role in each of the countries of the world.

Religion is a very complex and potentially explosive issue to report and journalists need to handle it with care, Bayuni, one of the founding members, argued at that time. Journalists can make a real difference and should work on stories that can change people’s opinions and attitudes.

Bayuni and Todd were among eight members — from the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Australia — on the group’s original steering committee. Under Lopez’s leadership, the committee and executive director have organized and sponsored several ground-breaking conferences to explore issues surrounding media coverage of faith in Australia, Brazil, Europe and the United States.

IARJ founding members posing against an exterior wall of the Bellagio Center
The IARJ founding group in Bellagio, Italy

The IARJ, with more than 500 members across the globe, has partnered with academic groups including the Association of Religion Data Archives and journalism organizations such as the International Center for Journalists.

It has created a website in English and Arabic to link members with information and data about religion-reporting from nation to nation. It also provides helpful interviews from reporters in the field and significant articles on the beat.

The organization was the brainchild of Briggs, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist whose career has focused on national and international religion reporting.

The veteran reporter saw a need to improve the quality of that reporting, especially in the realm of global issues around faith that often contribute to conflicts and tensions but are little understood by readers or even top editors.

It was Briggs’ hope that such an international body of respected journalists would become a significant resource for media outlets throughout the world and offer a fair-minded analysis of religion that could transcend boundaries and biases.

Bayuni and Todd are committed to continuing that dream.