The authors, both former religion reporters, include unusual and little known stories in this collection, placing those articles within their historical contexts in brief introductory sections to each chapter. This compilation stands alone as an anthology of religious news coverage and fills a void for scholars of American religion and journalism history. It would be all the more valuable, however, if it included a cross-referencing system to enable searches by publication, text, or date.
Buddenbaum and Mason accept Mark Silk's assumption that the media support widely shared cultural values that are at their core religious in nature. The stories selected for inclusion in this volume illustrate "continuities in issues, arguments and styles." Their examination of religious news coverage highlights the ways in which the media has shaped both the country's religious climate and public opinions about religion. Taken as a whole, media coverage of religion demonstrates that while over time the issues themselves appear to be far flung and wide ranging, the fact of religiously motivated debate on matters of public concern has been a constant in the history of this country. That continuity only reinforces the truth that when it comes to religion and the news, there is indeed nothing new under the sun.