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Our first century

A mandate to 'lighten' still drives the Monitor at the dawn of its second 100 years.

(Page 7 of 9)

On the brighter side, in 1978 Richard L. Strout won the Pulitzer Prize "for distinguished commentary from Washington over many years as staff correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor and contributor to The New Republic." Two generations of Monitor writers sought to emulate his acute observations and pungent style. "Dick Strout was our journalism school," wrote Earl W. Foell, who succeeded Hughes as editor in 1979.

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The 1980s were a decade of experimentation and controversy at the Monitor.

Ms. Fanning was named editor in 1983, the first woman to lead the Monitor. Fanning previously had guided a paper she owned in Alaska to a Pulitzer Prize for a fearless examination of the Teamsters. In Boston, she was teamed with Publishing Society manager John H. Hoagland Jr., a Yale-educated business consultant and devoted Christian Scientist. Mr. Hoagland was tasked with finding a way to cure the Monitor's persistent deficits and expand its modest print audience in an era when TV was the dominant news delivery vehicle.

Millions of dollars were invested in the newspaper. Even more went into building a Monitor presence in radio and television. Weekend Monitor Radio broadcasts began in 1984, followed by a daily afternoon news program in 1985. An early morning Monitor radio program went on the air in 1989. The radio broadcasts eventually drew an audience of 1.1 million listeners a week on more than 200 public radio stations.

The Monitor's television experiments began in 1985 with a monthly 30-minute program on commercial TV stations called "Christian Science Monitor Reports." A weekly broadcast was launched in 1987 and in 1988 it won a George Foster Peabody award, the broadcast equivalent of a Pulitzer, for an examination of "Islam in Turmoil."

The decade's most expensive venture was "World Monitor" a nightly half-hour TV program with an annual budget in the $20-million range that aired on cable's Discovery Channel. The New York Times's review of the première said, "The sheer integrity of 'World Monitor' is invigorating." The program later won an Emmy for its international news coverage.

To expand the Monitor's presence in the world of print, a glossy monthly magazine was launched in October 1988. Also called World Monitor, it was edited by Mr. Foell, who was on a first-name basis with the world's movers and shakers. He could dash off witty memos with references to everyone from Agamemnon to Ataturk, and had uncanny news judgment. In the magazine's first issue, former presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford predicted the Berlin Wall would come down 13 months before it did so.