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Edward R. Murrow College of Communication

Tracy Simmons

  1. Assistant Professor
  2. Professor of Practice
LocationJackson Hall 361B



Tracy Simmons is an award-winning journalist with over 20 years of experience specializing in religion reporting and media entrepreneurship. She has worked as a multimedia journalist for news publications across the Southwest and Northeast regions of the U.S. She is the executive director and founder of FāVS.News (formerly, an innovative digital startup covering religion news and commentary in the Spokane, Washington area. She also writes for national religion news publications and serves as a reporter and columnist for the Spokesman-Review.

Her award-winning reporting highlights diverse religious experiences and spans topics from religious extremism to Christian-Muslim relations. Simmons has reported aboard cargo ships, on police chases, and in disaster zones worldwide. Her work has been recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists, Religious Communicators Council, LION Publishers and other organizations.

Simmons’ research focuses on the intersection of journalism, religion and technology. She is the communications manager on a $5 million, mixed-methods study investigating the impact of COVID-19 on congregations across the U.S. The multi-year project examines pandemic-related innovations in congregational life.

At Murrow, she teaches a variety of journalism classes, including newswriting, religion reporting, multimedia journalism and public affairs.



  • M.A., Eastern New Mexico University, 2003

Classes Taught

  • COM 300 – Writing in Communication
  • COM 275 – Communication Seminar (Religion Reporting)
  • COMJOUR 333 – Reporting Across Platforms
  • COMJOUR 425 – Reporting Public Affairs
  • COM 484 – Backpack Journalism

Research Interests

  • Religion and Media
  • Media Literacy
  • Media Entrepreneurship
  • Emerging Media


  • 2019, LION Finalist for Best Business Plan
  • 2017, AEJMC C-SPAN Fellow
  • 2016, Walter Cronkite Fellow
  • 2015, Local Media Association award for Best Community Initiative
  • 2014, Local Media Association award for Best Niche Site Produced by Local Media
  • 2014, Voted one of the “SpokaneFifty” – changing the face of Spokane
  • 2013, Religion Newswriters Association award for best online religion section, third place
  • 2013, Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists award for best online column
  • 2010, Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists award for best audio storytelling
  • 2010, Religion Newswriters Association award for best online religion section
  • 2010, American Academy of Religion Award for Best In-Depth Reporting on Religion
  • 2009, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal Editor’s Award two-time winner

Selected Publications

Academic Publications

Simmons, T. (2021). A 26-year journey of multifaith cooperation. Theology Today.

Candello, E., Paxson, L.C., Raney, W., Simmons, T., McLaughlin, M., Loftus, W. (2020). A collaborative response to the COVID-19 pandemic: A curriculum redesign to virtual delivery reveals challenges facing traditional and nontraditional students, submitted to Journalism and Mass Communication Educator.

Media Contributions

He Has A History of Anti-semitic Tweets — and Now A GOP Endorsement for School Board. The Forward, 2021.

Snapping Out of a Cult and Sharing her Healing with Others. Religion News Service, 2021.

Domestic Terror Attack and Faith Divides. Interfaith Voices Public Radio, 2021.

In Search of Religious Freedom, Christians Flock to North Idaho. Religion Unplugged, 2020.

20 Years after Y2K, Preppers Ready for Societal Collapse. Religion News Service, 2020.

Have You Heard of The Cult Next Door? TedX Spokane Talk, 2020

Douglas Wilson’s ‘Spiritual Takeover’ Plan Roils Idaho College Town. Religion News Service, 2019.

Media Literacy and Fake News: How Media Literacy Can Curb the Fake News Trend textbook chapter in Handbook of Research on Media Literacy in Higher Education Environments, 2018.

Murderer Makes Repentance in New Role as Prison Imam. Religion News Service, 2018.

Monthly columnist and reporter for Spokesman-Review.

Editor of FāVS.News

Conference Presentations

Simmons, T., Norton, A., & Thumma, T. (2023, April 19). Stories of hope & resilience: Exploring the pandemic’s congregational challenges [Conference session]. Plenary presented at the American Church Press Annual Conference, Chicago, Illinois.

Simmons, T. (2022, November 30) Digital Communication. Workshop for Lilly Endowment.

Simmons, T. (2020, November) Have you heard of the cult next door? [Video] TedX Spokane.

Simmons, T. (2018) Interfaith Work in Health Care Settings Conference. Panel Discussion at Eastern Washington University.

Simmons, T. (2018) What Does it Mean to be Out at Work? Panel Discussion at Eastern Washington University.

Simmons, T. (2017) Telling Your Story. Workshop for Institute for Hate Studies at Gonzaga University.

Simmons, T. (2017) Media Entrepreneurship. Lecture at Eastern Washington University.

Simmons, T. (2016) Social Journalism. Workshop at American Theological Library Association Annual Conference.

Simmons, T. (2016) Conversations and Listening to Respond. Lecture at Good Neighbor Conference at Gonzaga University.

Simmons, T. (2016) Social Media and Addressing Hate Online. Lecture presented at Good Neighbor Conference at Gonzaga University.

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