Professors Ari Goldman, '73 M.S., and Gregory Khalil Discuss Renowned Covering Religion Course

Both CJS professors share the aim of their course: teaching students how to listen to those with differing viewpoints, and cover all aspects of any conflict.

July 01, 2024

Professors Ari Goldman, '73 M.S., and Gregory Khalil teach Covering Religion – a course designed to prepare students to write about religion for secular media outlets. The coursework and time dedicated in the classroom is focused on delivering empathetic and impartial journalism. Both professors discussed the importance of this training during complex crises in recent interviews. 

"We have this commitment that my story is not the only story," Khalil told CBS News. "My political attachments, as deeply committed to them as I am, are not the only part of the conversation." 

Goldman, a former religion correspondent for The New York Times, has been teaching the seminar at Columbia Journalism since 1993. Khalil, the co-founder and President of Telos, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit, joined Goldman after an invitation to guest lecture for his class. Their collaboration has created a curriculum and friendship based on shared passion and experience. 

"We have learned to understand each other's prospectives and to teach that as a pedagogical tool with our students," said Goldman. "They can cover things that they do not believe in, but they can see as an insider."

Thanks to a generous grant from the Scripps Howard Foundation, the class travels each year to different countries for a week-long study trip to look at how religion is practiced and influences society. In past years, the class has gone to Israel, Jordan and the West Bank; Ireland and Northern Ireland; Russia and Ukraine; India; and Italy. The study-tour takes place over the spring break and at no cost to students.