Steven Waldman

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Steven Waldman in 2012

Steven Waldman is president and co-founder of Report for America, a national service program that places emerging journalists into local newsrooms.[1]

Previously he was Senior Advisor to the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, serving out of the Office of Strategic Planning. He authored the report "Information Needs of Communities".[2] Waldman had earlier served as editor-in-chief, president, and co-founder of Beliefnet, a multi-faith spirituality website.


Waldman is a 1984 graduate of Columbia University, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Columbia Daily Spectator.[3]

After college, Waldman was a political journalist. In 1986–87, he served as editor of The Washington Monthly.[4] He was the national editor of U.S. News & World Report, and worked for eight years in Newsweek's Washington bureau as a national correspondent writing cover stories on social issues.[5]

Waldman co-founded Beliefnet in 1999. He was its CEO from 2002 to 2007, leading it out of bankruptcy to a sale to News Corp.;[6] he continued as editor-in-chief until November 2009.[7]

In late 2009, he became a senior advisor to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, serving out of the Office of Strategic Planning. He was assigned to "lead an open, fact-finding process to craft recommendations to meet the traditional goals of serving the public interest and making sure that all Americans receive the information, educational content, and news they seek."[8] The position arose in response to the report of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy and other studies that called on the FCC for "new thinking" to "ensure the information opportunities of America’s people and the information vitality of our democracy."[8]

In 2015, he wrote a report called "Report for America",[9] proposing a national program to improve local journalism. In 2017, he teamed with The GroundTruth Project,[10] an existing nonprofit news organization, and its CEO, Charles Sennott, to launch the program. The first class of Report for America corps members entered newsrooms in 2018. Initial funding came from the Google News Initiative, the Knight Foundation, Craig Newmark and others.

In 2016, he founded LifePosts,[11] a platform for online memorials and other life milestones. The platform is used by local media[12] and funeral homes.

Waldman is also a speaker on topics relating to the spiritual marketplace, the changing roles of religion in America, and the convergence of spirituality and marketing. In 2000, he was named by Time Magazine as an "innovator" in its "100: The Next Wave" feature.[13] He has been a speaker at The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, "The Resurgence of Religion in Politics" series at The Carnegie Council, The Renaissance Weekend, and numerous religious, policy and media conferences.[14]


External videos
video icon Booknotes interview with Waldman on The Bill, January 29, 1995, C-SPAN

Waldman is the author of the New York Times bestselling book[15] Founding Faith: How Our Founding Fathers Forged a Radical New Approach to Religious Liberty and is a columnist covering spirituality and politics for The Wall Street Journal Online.[16]

Founding Faith: Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America was published in hardback in March 2008 and in paperback in March 2009 with the revised title Founding Faith: How Our Founding Fathers Forged a Radical New Approach to Religious Liberty.[citation needed] He is the author of an earlier book The Bill: How the Adventures of Clinton's National Service Bill Reveal What is Corrupt, Comic, Cynical -- and Noble -- About Washington, about the passage of the AmeriCorps law, which is often used as a textbook for college courses.[17] Mr. Waldman served as senior advisor to the CEO of the Corporation for National Service, a $750 million government agency that runs AmeriCorps and other volunteer programs.[citation needed]


Waldman has been a guest on CNN,[18] MSNBC,[19] Fox News,[citation needed] ABC News,[20] and NPR,[21] and has written for Slate,[22] National Review,[23] The Washington Post, The New York Times,[24] the Atlantic[25] and other publications.[26]

Personal life[edit]

Waldman's brother, Michael Waldman, served as the White House Director of Speechwriting from 1995 to 1999 under President Bill Clinton and is currently the president of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law as well as a member of the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States.[27]


  1. ^ Bowles, Nellie (April 15, 2018). "Report for America Supports Journalism Where Cutbacks Hit Hard". Retrieved March 3, 2019 – via
  2. ^ "Information Needs of Communities". Federal Communications Commission. June 9, 2011. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  3. ^ Hochwald, Lambeth (Summer 2018). "A Champion for Community Journalism". Columbia College Today. Retrieved April 13, 2021.
  4. ^ "Index of /index.php/seminars/speakerpage". Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  5. ^ "Beliefnet gives spiritual melting pot new shape -". Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  6. ^ Nocera, Joe (May 5, 2007). "Keeping Faith in a Venture Built on Faith". The New York Times.
  7. ^ Steven Waldman (November 20, 2009). "Good Bye".
  8. ^ a b "DOC-294328A1.doc". Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  9. ^ "Report for America: a community service-based model for saving local journalism". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  10. ^ "The GroundTruth Project". The GroundTruth Project. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  11. ^ Adams, Susan (March 23, 2016). "What The Founder Of Beliefnet Learned From The Dotcom Bubble And Bankruptcy". Forbes. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  12. ^ Grubisich, Tom (March 18, 2016). "Can LifePosts' Digital Obits Provide Clues for Sustainable Local Publishing?". Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  13. ^ ", Spirituality Innovators Index, 2000". Archived from the original on January 24, 2001. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  14. ^ 2008 Digital Hollywood Politics Summit Archived 2008-12-27 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "New York Times Hardcover Non-Fiction Bestseller List -- April 6, 2008". The New York Times. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  16. ^ Murray, Sara (March 9, 2009). "Obama Touts 'Responsible' Budget — A Shrewd Political Move". Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  17. ^ Waldman, Steven (1996). The Bill : How Legislation Really Becomes Law: A Case Study of the National Service Bill. Penguin Books. ISBN 0140233040.
  18. ^ -- ABC Presidential Debate Transcript, April 20, 2008
  19. ^ -- Hardball with Chris Matthews, December 22, 2008
  20. ^ -- The Faith Factor, October 29, 2008
  21. ^, Fresh Air, February 16, 2009
  22. ^ -- The Religious Left, April 5, 2006
  23. ^ "The National Review -- Courting Religion, March 31, 2008". Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  24. ^ Waldman, Steven (November 6, 2004). "On a Word and a Prayer". Retrieved March 3, 2019 – via
  25. ^ Waldman, Steven. "Steven Waldman". The Atlantic. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  26. ^ Reading Critically, Writing Well: A Reader and Guide, 5th edition. Eds. Rise B. Axelrod and Charles R. Cooper. New York: Bedford, St. Martin’s, 1999. "The Tyranny of Choice, Steven Waldman". Archived from the original on June 24, 2007. Retrieved March 12, 2009.
  27. ^ "Columbia Daily Spectator 30 October 1996 — Columbia Spectator". Retrieved April 12, 2021.

External links[edit]