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Editor's Blog

Question time: Monitor editors respond

By / April 3, 2009

You've got questions. We have answers -- mostly. And what we don't know, we'll try to find out.

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Today's Monitor
Q: I’d love a single button to push to print out “today’s Monitor.” Browsing on the Web I don’t read things that I think I don’t want to read until I start reading them. To say nothing of I want to read while I eat lunch and I can’t eat lunch at the computer (the mustard on the keyboard just doesn’t cut it). Giving up the daily print is hard!

A: We are launching an easy-to-print news digest later this month. The Christian Science Monitor Daily News Briefing will give you abridged (but still substantial) versions of the top news stories, a selection of important news briefs, a daily editorial, a column from the editors, and the daily inspirational article. It will cost $5.75 a month. By mid-April, we should have a subscription form ready to go (watch this space). We plan to launch by the end of the month.

Which is the fresh content?
Q: I’ll miss the paper dearly but am 100 percent behind the reasons and decision, in full support. I’ve often visited the site, but today is my first time to try to “read the whole paper” online. My question: What’s the best way to see “24-hours fresh” content only? The home page is a mix of today’s content with older content, with presumably newest content first, but no clear delineation. Furthermore, I clicked on the “USA” section link, and there the dates of articles are shown, but the Blagojevich article dated today was at the bottom of the page after some older content. Will articles be listed in chronological order? Perhaps that Blagojevich article was just a glitch.

A: Thanks for your support. The Daily News Briefing that I mentioned in the previous answer might help you. The challenge of a website is that it is a continuous stream of news. We've been thinking of providing a daily snapshot of the top stories each day. And we also will continue to have our "text edition" available. For technical reasons, it doesn't currently contain all the new articles of the day, but it usually has the most important ones. A month from now, all new articles should be at that location. And keep in mind that one person's problem is another's solution. If you look at the next questions, you'll see that a fan in South Africa likes being able to find stories that aren't from the current day's news.

Even as we have shifted to the Web, we have been working under the hood on the site, building new, more interesting page templates, and figuring out new workflows. We'll also have a better search function on the site, which should make it easier for you to find articles.

Monitor story mix
Q: Where I live (South Africa) the Monitor has not been a subscription option so I have followed, and subsequently fallen in love with, the online version of The Monitor, which I suppose is the only version now. The Monitor always was a publication better fit for an online format with in-depth features and long-term investigative reporting rather than daily headline hooks. Not to say the Internet isn’t the place for breaking news, but other daily printed newspapers and 24-hour news channels already occupied that part of my news input. The Monitor, by contrast, is able to keep larger and longer features and articles, which are its forte, online for as long as they like rather than do smaller daily updates needed for a daily or weekly magazine. My question is, is the Monitor going to change its story habits now that it is no longer tied to such deadline pressure and article length requirements that are requirements of print media?

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