From Yahweh to Yahoo!: The Religious Roots of the Secular Press

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This wide-ranging study—hailed by American Journalism as one of the year's best books—provides a fresh and surprising view of the religious impulses at work in the typical newsroom by delving into the largely unexamined parallels between religion and journalism, from the "media" of antiquity to the electronic idolatry of the Internet. Focusing on how the history of religion in the United States has been entwined with the growth of the media, Doug Underwood argues that American journalists are rooted in the nation's moral and religious heritage and operate, in important ways, as personifications of the old religious virtues.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252075711
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2008
  • Series: History of Communication Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Doug Underwood, an associate professor of communication at the University of Washington, is the author of When MBAs Rule the Newsroom: How the Marketers and Managers Are Reshaping Today's Media.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Journalism Facing Faith 1
Pt. 1 The Religious Roots of the Mass Media
1 Prophetic Journalism: Moral Outrage and the News 19
2 The Profits of Reform: Printers, Capitalists, and the Priesthood of Believers 33
3 Skeptics of Faith or Faith in Skepticism? Enlightening the Journalistic Mind 47
4 Mystics, Idealists, and Utopians: Journalism and the Romantic Tradition 61
5 Muckraking the Nation's Conscience: Journalists and the Social Gospel 76
6 Mencken, Monkeys, and Modernity: A New Metaphysic for the Newsroom 88
7 Pragmatism and the "Facts" of Religious Experience: The Model for a Synthesis 102
Pt. 2 Research, Religious Beliefs, and the Ethics of the Press
8 Trusting Their Guts: The Moral Compass of a Doubters' Profession 117
9 "I Will Show You My Faith by What I Do": A Survey of the Religious Beliefs of Journalists and Journalists' Faith Put into Action 130
10 Religion, Morality, and Professional Values: A Study of the Ethical Sources of Today's Journalists 148
Pt. 3 Secularism and the Newsroom Search for Substitute Faiths
11 The Cult of Science and the Scientifically Challenged Press 165
12 The Mind of the Inquiring Reporter: Psychology and the Science of the Soul 179
13 The Press, Politics, and Religion in the Public Square 192
14 Foundations of Sand: Technology Worship and the Internet 206
15 The Gospel of Public Journalism: The Newsroom Communitarians and the Search for Civic Virtue 216
Pt. 4 Journalism after Jesus
16 Jesus without Journalists: Miracles and Mysteries, Minus Media Reports 233
17 Visions of Mary and the Less Than Visionary Press: Religious Apparitions in the Framing of the Modern Media 249
18 Proselytizing and Profits: The Growth of Televangelism and the Collaboration of the Mainstream Press 253
19 Pluralism and the Press's Blind Spots: The Coverage of Religious Diversity at Home and Abroad 264
Afterword 271
Notes 281
Selected Bibliography 319
Index 331
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