Ask the editor: what's new, what's fair, what works
Here are some responses to questions that have come in via online comments, email, snail mail, and even by real live people asking me directly (it's retro but effective):Skip to next paragraph
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How do I know what's new?
A number of readers have requested a way to tell which articles on CSMonitor.com are new each day. The Web lets us keep articles alive for more than one day; that was impossible in print. But how do you tell the new Monitor articles every day from the older ones?
Our first attempt to provide you with this feature can be found in the "Today's News Agenda" post. You can find it on our home page Monday through Friday beginnig around noon, Eastern Time, on the upper right-hand side of the home page. (Click here to check out Wednesday's.)
The news agenda is derived from articles that our news team assigns and edits throughout the day. We go over these articles at a 10 am (ET) news meeting. At first only a few of these items are anything other than topic sentences. But as the day goes on and the stories go live on the site, we provide link to the live stories.
By the end of the day, the news agenda links you to the top new Monitor stories that we've produced.
If you find this useful, let us know. We'll make it a more regular and more prominent feature.
Can you find weekly Monitor articles online?
We do eventually republish articles from our weekly Monitor on the Web. But we don't do so in one spot or at one particular time of the week. During the course of a week or more after the cover date on the weekly, we slot individual articles into the CSMonitor.com lineup, depending on relevance, news flow, and reader interest.
If you want to read the weekly articles in a timely fashion -- and enjoy the design, texture, and handiness of the print package in which they come -- you have only to subscribe to the weekly. It's inexpensive. It's a good reading experience. It will give you important background on news and ideas that the world is discussing. (Yes, I'm a big fan. Go figure.)
“It's hard to say whether the reconfigured Monitor … should be called a newspaper or a magazine. Either way, it's an aesthetic success: tabloid-size and enticingly hefty, printed on 48 pages of matte stock that make the photos inside jump into the reader's lap. The one-page reports from abroad that fill the front of the book have a distinctly Economist feel, in terms of both layout and prose; in contrast, the cover stories get more real estate and funkier presentation."
Why do we allow some of those comments?
Readers continue to ask us about our standards for allowing comments on articles. As noted in an earlier response on this subject: "We are feeling our way through this, trying to thread the needle between living in a walled garden where we only talk to ourselves and standing in the middle of Times Square during a New Year’s Eve bash. It is a work in progress."
You can be excused for wondering whether a "work in progress" ever really progresses. It does. We have tightened our acceptability standards for comments. And next month, when we will have implemented a new content management system, we'll have a better way of presenting and policing comments. We don't want to snuff out comments. We want to encourage them.
Comments from our readers extend and enhance the discussion. Yes, sometimes they are shallow. Sometimes an otherwise reasonable comment can have a ugly turn of phrase. Do consider that even an off-base comment has its merits. It can indicate what a portion of the population is thinking. It can also be the impetus for a persuasive response that you could contribute that either appeals to the commenter's sense of fairness and reason or that appeals to a similar sense among indivduals who may be quietly reading the comment string.We don't edit comments. We approve them or we don't approve them. If we edited the comments, we would become the publisher of them and would thus have to verify every fact. We verify every fact with Monitor journalism, but we don't have the resources to do so with comments.