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Bergenheim named new editor of Monitor

May 11, 2005


Richard C. Bergenheim, former editor in chief of The Christian Science Publishing Society, has been chosen to succeed Paul Van Slambrouck as editor of The Christian Science Monitor on May 15.

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The change was announced Tuesday at a newsroom meeting by Mary Trammell, who chairs the Christian Science Board of Directors. The board acts as publisher of the Monitor.

Mr. Bergenheim served from 1988 to 1994 as a member of the board of directors. In his board assignment as editor in chief, Bergenheim worked closely with the editor of the paper and of Monitor Radio in setting strategy and overseeing editorial quality.

"Richard's passion for the news, spiritual strength, and wide-ranging curiosity will be enormously helpful in dealing with the challenges facing the newspaper industry in general and our paper in particular," Ms. Trammell said. "He shares our conviction that The Christian Science Monitor has an essential place in the church Mary Baker Eddy founded. As a former board member and editor in chief of The Christian Science Publishing Society, he brings a unique perspective to the Monitor editor's office. My colleagues and I look forward to working closely with him to ensure the Monitor remains a vital force in journalism in the years ahead."

Mr. Van Slambrouck has been the Monitor's editor since July 2001. During his tenure, the Monitor won a Pulitzer Prize and experienced a major expansion in the size of the audience for its website, Van Slambrouck joined the paper as a local reporter in 1976 and has served as Houston bureau chief, Johannesburg bureau chief, and international news editor.

He will be returning to San Francisco and has been asked to serve as one of the Monitor's senior editors and to write regularly, drawing on his wide knowledge of international affairs and the impact of technology on society.

"Paul was an immensely skillful steward of the Monitor during a remarkably eventful period in world history. We will always be grateful for how he rallied the staff to cover the challenging events of 9/11 and the ongoing war in Iraq. We are proud of how the Monitor was able to bring distinctive coverage to such major events. Paul brought strength, poise, and fierce devotion to the Monitor's mission," said board chair Trammell.

"I thank the board for the opportunity to have served this great paper as editor. The Monitor is a special place, filled with special people that have made these four years unforgettable," said Van Slambrouck.

Bergenheim began his remarks to the staff by saying that, "because of the severe challenges the paper faces at times, people are tempted to fear that it will not survive." But he argued that those concerns are unfounded, given "the continuing need for a paper that takes as its mission to keep its readers well informed and to alleviate the fears and pains and despair that afflict so many in the world today. The Monitor has an essential role to play in this computerized age. We have no doubt that it has a significant future ahead of it."

Bergenheim said that in mapping the Monitor's future, "our goal is to step out from the herd, and give the details, the insight, and background needed so that readers can draw their own conclusions."