Our first century
A mandate to 'lighten' still drives the Monitor at the dawn of its second 100 years.
(Page 8 of 9)
Meanwhile, disputes raged over proposed major reductions in the newspaper's staff and budget, and a media strategy dominated by broadcasting. Fanning resigned as editor in November 1988 at the end of what she said was a three-year dispute with the members of the board of trustees and board of directors over the Monitor's direction. Managing editor David Anable and assistant managing editor David Winder also resigned. In a Boston Globe interview, the three said they left rather than go along with a plan that would cut the Monitor's pages in half, eliminate all advertising, and have the editor report to the manager of the Christian Science Publishing Society rather than to members of the board of directors as was longstanding practice. The departures shocked the Monitor staff and triggered increased press scrutiny of the Publishing Society's broadcast-centric strategy.Skip to next paragraph
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No Monitor editor has ever assumed the office under more challenging conditions than Fanning's successor, Richard Cattani, who had been the paper's chief editorial writer. Mr. Cattani and crew began producing a smaller, four-color paper in January 1989, using cutting edge desktop-publishing equipment. "The most important achievement of the Cattani/Walker administration," says former deputy editor Ruth Walker, "was to keep the paper going at a time when its survival was very much in doubt."
The 1990s were marked by a retreat from broadcasting and exploration of the potential for using the Internet to share the Monitor's unique journalism values with a wider audience.
The Monitor's foray into broadcasting culminated with the May 1991 launch of the Monitor Channel – a 24-hour-a-day cable news operation. But the church's media ambitions outstripped its financial resources. That proved true even after publication of a controversial biography of Mary Baker Eddy triggered a major bequest – and considerable protest by church members. The channel went dark in June 1992.
A much brighter moment in Monitor history occurred on June 24, 1990, when Nelson Mandela was on his first visit to the US after being released from 27 years in prison in South Africa. Mr. Mandela asked his security detail to bring him to the Monitor's headquarters. When Mandela was spotted walking on the plaza outside the newsroom, editor Cattani and several other staff members went out to greet him. Mandela said, "The Christian Science Monitor was well known to me during my 27 years in prison. It continues to give me hope and confidence for the world's future."
In May 1993, World Monitor magazine closed due to insufficient revenues.
David Cook became editor in 1994 with marching orders to ease some of the austerity of the Cattani years.
In 1995, Monitor correspondent David Rohde was held captive for nine days in a Bosnian Serb jail. He was captured while uncovering the suspected mass graves of thousands of Muslims killed in Srebrenica, reporting that won another Pulitzer Prize, the Monitor's sixth.
A desire to share Mr. Rohde's compelling reporting led the Monitor to post his stories on a rudimentary Monitor site on the Internet. The effort was spearheaded by Monitor Radio staffers David Creagh and Tom Regan. A fully developed Monitor website went up in June 1996.