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Wall Street Journal Columnist William McGurn Will Deliver Keynote Address at Institute for Communication and Religion’s Inaugural Event  

William McGurn The Institute for Communication and Religion within the College of Communication and the Arts will welcome William McGurn, columnist at The Wall Street Journal and former presidential speechwriter, to discuss Speaking Truth: Religion in the News Media. The Seton Hall community and public are encouraged to attend the Institute’s inaugural event on Thursday, November 2, 2017, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in Jubilee Hall Atrium.

“Speaking Truth: Religion in the News Media is intended to encourage open, clear communication between religious institutions and the broader public,” said Monsignor Dennis Mahon, Ph.D., coordinator for the Institute for Communication and Religion and associate professor of communication. “I hope the discussion will guide attendees to communicate responsibly about religious topics and to walk away with a greater understanding of how religion is covered in the media.”

The event will feature an address by McGurn and an interactive panel discussion with interreligious media and communication thought-leaders, including Jim Goodness, vice chancellor and director of communications for the Archdiocese of Newark; Dr. Athar Murtuza, an associate professor of accounting at the University who studies accounting ethics and social justice as perceived by various faiths; Yael Katzwer, managing editor of the West Orange Chronicle and News-Record of Maplewood & South Orange and former freelancer of the New Jersey Jewish News; and Ashley Turner, editor-in-chief of The Setonian, the University’s student newspaper. The panel discussion will be moderated by Dr. Ki Joo (KC) Choi, associate professor and chair of the Department of Religion at the University. The evening will conclude with the opportunity to interact with McGurn and the panelists through a Q&A and meet and greet session. Light refreshments will be served throughout the evening.

In recent years, McGurn has observed a divide in religion in which he distinguishes as “churched” and “unchurched” groups. “There is an increasing number of unchurched individuals within communities,” he said. “These two groups are not speaking the same language any longer.”

McGurn, who has covered religious topics like Pope Francis and religious liberty, is a member of The Wall Street Journal editorial board and writes the weekly “Main Street” column for the Journal each Tuesday. Previously he served as Chief Speechwriter for President George W. Bush. He spent more than a decade overseas -- in Brussels for The Wall Street Journal/Europe and in Hong Kong with both the Asian Wall Street Journal and the Far Eastern Economic Review. McGurn is the author of a book on Hong Kong (Perfidious Albion) and a monograph on terrorism (Terrorist or Freedom Fighter). He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Notre Dame and an M.S. in Communications from Boston University.

Launching in Fall 2017, the Institute for Communication and Religion provides a nexus for ongoing scholarly exploration of communication topics critically important to religion and society. Curriculum development workshops and a large-scale, interreligious event are also scheduled for the Spring 2018 semester.

For additional information and to register, please visit the event’s website here. The event is free and open to the public with pre-registration strongly encouraged. Stay connected at #SHUSpeakingTruth.

About the Institute for Communication and Religion 
Launched in Fall 2017, the Institute for Communication and Religion within the College of Communication and the Arts provides a nexus for ongoing scholarly exploration of communication topics critically important to religion and society. Guided by the spirit of ecumenical and interreligious cooperation, the Institute seeks to engage in public dialogue and debate, promote academic inquiry and support the religious dimension of creativity — all while upholding the values of servant leadership, curricular innovation and intellectual excellence. For more information about the ICR, visit the Institute's website or email Jon Radwan, Ph.D., at

Categories: Arts and Culture , Campus Life , Faith and Service , Nation and World

For more information, please contact:

  • Monsignor Dennis Mahon, Ph.D.
  • (973) 275-2794