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Monitor shifts from print to Web-based strategy

In 2009, the Monitor will become the first nationally circulated newspaper to replace its daily print edition with its website; the 100 year-old news organization will also offer subscribers weekly print and daily e-mail editions.

By Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / October 29, 2008



The Christian Science Monitor plans major changes in April 2009 that are expected to make it the first newspaper with a national audience to shift from a daily print format to an online publication that is updated continuously each day.

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The changes at the Monitor will include enhancing the content on CSMonitor.com, starting weekly print and daily e-mail editions, and discontinuing the current daily print format.

This new, multiplatform strategy for the Monitor will "secure and enlarge the Monitor's role in its second century," said Mary Trammell, editor in chief of The Christian Science Publishing Society and a member of the Christian Science Board of Directors. Mrs. Trammell said that "journalism that seeks to bless humanity, not injure, and that shines light on the world's challenges in an effort to seek solutions, is at the center of Mary Baker Eddy's vision for the Monitor. The method of delivery and format are secondary" and need to be adjusted, given Mrs. Eddy's call to keep the Monitor "abreast of the times."

While the Monitor's print circulation, which is primarily delivered by US mail, has trended downward for nearly 40 years, "looking forward, the Monitor's Web readership clearly shows promise," said Judy Wolff, chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Christian Science Publishing Society. "We plan to take advantage of the Internet in order to deliver the Monitor's journalism more quickly, to improve the Monitor's timeliness and relevance, and to increase revenue and reduce costs. We can do this by changing the way the Monitor reaches its readers."

The coming changes, over two years in the planning stage, occur at a time of fundamental transition in news publishing and turn the page on a remarkable chapter in American journalism. The Monitor, which celebrates its 100th anniversary on Nov. 25, was launched at the direction of church founder Eddy, who had been the subject of a searing legal and journalistic attack by Joseph Pulitzer's New York World. Officials of her church had a professional news organization up and running in just over 100 days.

In the Monitor's first edition, Mrs. Eddy defined the scope and tone of the newspaper's journalistic mission, writing that it should "injure no man, but bless all mankind."

Since that time, generations of editorial and publishing workers have devoted themselves to the Monitor. While Mrs. Eddy's paper was initially greeted with skepticism, the Monitor won respect from its journalistic peers; it has been awarded seven Pulitzer Prizes and numerous other journalistic accolades. Three Monitor editors have been elected president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

Monitor editor John Yemma said that while the methods of publishing Monitor journalism have evolved over 100 years, the underlying motives and approach remain constant.

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