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date: 19 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

American readers relying solely on the New York Times for information could be forgiven for thinking that Christianity, specifically institutionalized Roman Catholicism, is Latin America's sole religion. This article first reflects on the configuration of the Latin American religious field and how it is related to the process of news construction. It then considers how news construction is related to a cultural process by which professional journalists and the larger society are shaped by the social imaginary. A close reading of the letters of Christopher Columbus following his arrival on the continent provides a historical background for this social imaginary. An analysis of the coverage of papal visits to Latin America between 1968 and 2007 in Time and the New York Times demonstrates journalists' exclusivist understanding and how it is perpetuated in the modern U.S. press.

Keywords: religion, Latin America, Christianity, Christopher Columbus, papal visits, New York Times, Time, news, social imaginary, letters

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