Ethics, religion and journalism in the USA

Their roles within political dialogue and the peacemaking process

Authored by: Doug Underwood

The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Journalism

Print publication date:  October  2020
Online publication date:  October  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138304963
eBook ISBN: 9780203731420
Adobe ISBN:


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The Internet has re-engineered the ethical framework that was established by industrialized press organizations and opened the field to everybody operating together within a collective, new ethical zeitgeist. Evolving communication devices that open to the universe of human voices make it difficult to predict how future media may operate – let alone foretell ethics’ and religion’s place within them. This chapter examines the historical fusion – and modern separation – of religious belief and ethical values and its impact upon US American journalists’ participation in the global dialogue and peacemaking process. Research shows that young people have contributed to a rapid rise of US Americans with no religious affiliation; that US American journalists – while more open to religion than their critics believe – are substantially less religious than their audience; and that journalists draw from secular more than religious values in their ethical and professional practices. The computer engineered changes have come so rapidly and the media business has been so disrupted by them, that one cannot presume that traditional religiosity – and the ethical values drawn from religion by journalism organizations – will survive in historical form given technology’s transformation of the US American press and a public that now shares so intensively in the communications ecosystem.

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