Our first century
A mandate to 'lighten' still drives the Monitor at the dawn of its second 100 years.
(Page 6 of 9)
With a highly logical mind and deft editing skills, John set about building what other news organizations called "the new Monitor." He boosted staff salaries, started a training program for young reporters, added news bureaus, and launched features aimed at helping the paper compete in a society where television had become the dominant news source.Skip to next paragraph
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The results made Monitor history: Pulitzer Prizes three years in a row. In 1967, Hughes won a Pulitzer for his reporting of an attempted Communist coup in Indonesia. In 1968, Howard James won for his series "Crisis in the Courts." The following year, environmental reporter Robert Cahn took the prize for his inquiry into the future of the national parks.
From 1964 on, the Monitor provided intensive coverage of the growing US involvement in Vietnam with courageous, on-the-scene dispatches from staff members Takashi Oka, John Dillin, Daniel Southerland, and Elizabeth Pond.
The Monitor was buffeted by the Vietnam War and business losses during the 1970s.
Monitor correspondent Pond and two other journalists were taken prisoner by Communist forces in Cambodia on May 7, 1970. The trio had driven from Saigon to observe US and South Vietnamese operations on the main route from Saigon to Phnom Penh. Ms. Pond and her colleagues were released after more than five weeks of captivity.
As the war raged, a veteran foreign correspondent moved into the editor's office in October 1970. Hughes had been awarded a prestigious Nieman Fellowship at Harvard, had won that 1967 Pulitzer, and shortly before being named editor won the Overseas Press Club award for best reporting from abroad.
On June 29, 1971, the Monitor followed the New York Times and the Washington Post in printing portions of the Pentagon Papers, a hitherto top-secret study of US policy in Vietnam commissioned by the Pentagon. Asked by the US Justice Department not to publish, Hughes said he "declined to accede" to the request. In an editorial the Monitor explained, "The proper role of a responsible press is to do its best at all times to tell those things which the public should know but governments would prefer to withhold."
Two major cost-saving changes in the Monitor occurred in the face of rising expenses. In October 1973 the Saturday edition was discontinued, and in April 1975 the paper moved from a broadsheet to a compact format. (Staffers were told not to use the word "tabloid.")