Religious News Media

The first newspaper in British colonial America, Publick Occurrences, Both Forreign and Domestick (1690), assumed a religious point of view. Its purpose, editor Benjamin Harris wrote, was to report news of the day so “That Memorable Occurrences of Divine Providence may not be neglected or forgotten, as they too often are.” Harris, an Anabaptist, set out to produce a newspaper of record, not a religious medium, but he was so steeped in the Protestant culture of New England that he simply assumed the events he reported reflected the providence of God. A report in Publick Occurrences about a mourning widower who hanged himself said, “The Devil took advantage.” Another story reported that “Merciful Providence” fed the English colonists who were fighting the French in Canada. ...

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