Religion Unplugged

This veteran religion journalist likes to sing spirituals — but not when she’s working

By Bobby Ross Jr. | Religion Unplugged

Editor’s note: Every Friday, “Weekend Plug-In” features analysis, insights and top headlines from the world of faith. Got feedback or ideas for this column? Email Bobby Ross Jr. at

Surely there’s someone out there who doesn’t like Adelle M. Banks.

I just haven’t found that person yet.

A rare soul beloved by colleagues and competitors alike, Banks is a veteran religion journalist who recently celebrated 25 years (that’s an eternity in journalism circles!) with Religion News Service.

“Adelle is one of the sharpest, most thoughtful colleagues on the religion beat,” said Sarah Pulliam Bailey, religion writer for the Washington Post and a former RNS national correspondent. “I know that when I’m reading a story by her, it’s going to be smart, timely and well reported. Once upon a time, she would copy edit my stories, and I was ever grateful for her eagle eyes.”

Bob Smietana, editor-in-chief of RNS, described her this way: “You won’t find a better reporter or a better person on the religion beat than Adelle Banks. Throughout her career … she’s reported on religion, spirituality and matters of faith with a steady hand, a skeptical eye and a sense of empathy and understanding about how religion shapes our neighbor’s lives and the world around us. People trust Adelle because she gets the facts rights and always sees to the heart of a story. It’s a privilege to be on the same team as Adelle.”

Here’s something that even Banks’ most loyal readers might not realize: She loves to sing!

She has lended her voice to choirs and choruses since the fifth grade. Both in her early years working for newspapers in upstate New York and in her time with RNS in Washington, D.C., she joined local singing groups.

Read the full column.

This column appears in the online magazine Religion Unplugged.

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