Next Monday we will launch several improvements in the Monitor's design and content. We want to tell you what we are doing and why.
Change is a constant at the Monitor. Mary Baker Eddy left instructions that each of the periodicals she founded be kept "abreast of the times." So, like editorial teams before us, we seek to ensure that the paper meets readers' needs in the most up-to-date manner.
Newspapers, like people, communicate in two ways: what they say and how they say it. The changes we are making address both matters of voice and content.
We want to speak with a voice that best serves today's readers. Our goal is to approach readers as a family friend - a guest who comes to your home and leaves you glad we visited. The Monitor seeks to help readers cope with the welter of facts that bombard them from every corner by reporting the news with insight and compassion, hope and humor.
The friends who mean the most speak from the heart - honestly, directly, with wit and grace. Those are qualities we think characterize the redesign of our paper that will appear next Monday. "We wanted to make it easier to discern what is in the paper on a given day and make it more accessible," says lead designer John Kehe.
The design changes are evolutionary, not revolutionary. They include a more contemporary treatment of the paper's name at the top of Page 1, a streamlined look for section front pages, and updated designs for the news briefs and editorial pages. This is the first major change in our design since 1989.
The redesign will offer readers a clearer sense of flow through the paper. After page one, we will provide national news, international news, and news analysis and commentary on the editorial and op-ed pages. Then the daily special section will appear, followed by the Home Forum. The news briefs will move to the back page, making this popular feature more useful to readers in a hurry.
Next Monday's changes also will include enhancements in the paper's content. In June we completed the launch of five special sections that focus on issues about which readers told us they wanted more - or more insightful - information. Your mail and calls tell us that the sections Work & Money, Learning, Ideas, HomeFront, and Arts & Leisure have added to the Monitor's value.
But many of you also told us that our proportion of special sections to news was out of balance. So we are increasing the number of days when we offer 24 pages in the paper to allow us to expand our news package. When the paper stays at 20 pages, we will trim the size of the sections to make way for more news. In the new design, the paper's center spread will be available for major national and international news layouts.
As part of the Monitor's continuing commitment to cover events affecting all mankind, staff correspondent Robert Marquand will open a bureau in New Delhi in January to bolster coverage of that important and populous area of the world. Our redesigned international coverage will include a column several times a week by international editor Clayton Jones putting events outside the USA into perspective.
We think the changes will be self-explanatory. But, as a reader service, the edition of Nov. 16 will offer a graphic guide to the new Monitor. As previously announced, we plan to offer our international subscribers an improved weekly international edition early in 1999. We will provide more information on this soon.
The Monitor's Web site - csmonitor.com - also will have a new appearance next Monday. The Web design includes the same Monitor logo that will appear on the front page of the newspaper. The reformatted entry page "downloads more quickly and makes everything on the site easier to access," says lead Web designer Karen Schneider.
Next Monday the Monitor's electronic publishing arm also will launch Monitor Extra, a subscription service allowing the user to create a version of the Monitor reflecting his or her own interests. It can be delivered daily by e-mail or to a special Web site. Monitor Extra will include unlimited access to our story archives back to 1980.
All of us at the Monitor are grateful for the many readers who have stood by us steadfastly through the decades and for the new subscribers who share our enthusiasm for the constructive approach to journalism pioneered by the paper's founder. We appreciate your support and look forward to hearing your ideas on how we can strengthen the Monitor's service in the years ahead.
- David T. Cook, Editor