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.
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A new design for the Monitor's website is being phased in. It is the first step in what Yemma said would be "a much more robust Web presence." In addition to frequent updating with the latest news seven days a week, the plan is for the site to become a portal where editors will point visitors to other areas on the Web that are attempting journalism in the same spirit as the Monitor. Yemma said he wants to encourage much more two-way conversation between readers and Monitor staffers to "build a community of people who care about the values the Monitor stands for."Skip to next paragraph
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The Monitor's new weekly print edition will launch in April and be priced at $3.50 per copy or $89 for a year's subscription. A full-price subscription to the current daily print edition is $219. "We hope the people who subscribe to the daily will shift to the weekly and that many more who may not have had time to read the daily will find the weekly appeals to them," Yemma said.
Produced on high grade paper in a 10" by 12" size, the weekly will feature an in-depth cover story on a major global issue or trend; brief dispatches from Monitor correspondents around the globe; the best photographs of the week; special sections on innovation, the environment, and personal finance; as well as Home Forum essays and a single religious article, as has been the Monitor's practice since 1908.
Like the new print weekly, the new daily electronic edition will be offered by subscription. It will be a multipage PDF file sent by e-mail to subscribers Monday through Friday. The format makes it convenient for subscribers to print out the daily e-news edition at home. This publication will contain an original column by Monitor editors, the top Monitor stories of the day, links to other reports on the Monitor's website, and the daily religious article. Pricing has not been announced.
Reaching the improved financial targets in the Monitor's new business plan will depend on significant growth in Web traffic and on current subscribers to the daily paper transferring their subscriptions to the weekly edition and the daily e-mail edition, Wolff said. "If you are a current subscriber, we ask you to stay with us. If you do not subscribe, we hope you will subscribe to the Monitor now as it embarks on its second century."
This is a period of extreme financial difficulty for all news organizations. New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., for instance, was asked at a conference in California on Oct. 22 whether the Times would be a print product in 10 years. "The heart of the answer must be (that) we can't care," Sulzberger said. He added that he expects print to be around for a long time but "we must be where people want us for our information."
The cost, delay, and waste generated by daily print are huge hindrances, said Yemma. The Monitor can lead the way in providing news primarily online.
"The Christian Science Monitor finds itself uniquely positioned to take advantage of developing technologies, market conditions, and news consumption habits that can dramatically increase its relevance, reach, and utility; place it on a sound financial footing; and allow it to pursue its unique mission of providing global perspective and illuminating the human dimension behind international news," Yemma noted.