American Journalism and Religion, 1870–1930

Richard Flory

in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and the American News Media

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780195395068
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

American Journalism and Religion, 1870–1930


Between the years 1870 and 1930, there was both a significant decline in the space devoted to religion reporting and a shift in how religion, and its relationship to scientific knowledge, was conceived and presented in journalistic accounts. This article discusses two different but related developments within journalism. First, it analyzes editorials from the New York Times, one of the most influential newspapers in the United States during the period, from 1870 through 1930. Second, it looks at the different efforts and strategies employed to create a new profession of journalism that would be on the same social plane as the more established medical and legal professions. As organizational structures gave institutional legitimacy to journalism through schools, journals, and professional associations, advocates for professionalization were able to use these institutions to advance new ideas about religion and science, and journalism's relationship to each.

Keywords: religion reporting; religion; New York Times; journalism; professionalization; science; newspapers; professional associations

Article.  6661 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies

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