10 years and counting at csmonitor.com: What's new

The Christian Science Monitor sports a (slightly) new look and a free archive as it marks a decade online.

And what a decade it's been.

But as we roll out the first of a number of changes to the site, we wanted to take a quick glance back before we introduce the future.

The Christian Science Monitor's website formally debuted 10 years ago this month: June, 1996. But the real entry into the world of the Web took place the November before, under more dramatic circumstances.

It was autumn, 1995; the Balkans were still at war. Monitor reporter David Rohde had slipped behind Serb lines and, while discovering the first evidence of the Srebrenica massacre (for which he ultimately won a Pulitzer Prize), was thrown into a Serb jail for not having proper papers.

The Monitor online staff had been working toward a mid-1996 launch. But as soon as Rohde was set free, the csmonitor.com team swung into action to launch an early version of the website to follow the Rohde saga, and focus solely on Balkans war coverage. Csmonitor.com pioneer Tom Regan says that beta site was live for several months before being taken down, then was re-tooled for the full-fledged launch the following June.

From the outset, csmonitor.com included the complete Monitor Radio broadcasts, making it one of the first news sites to provide audio. The site stayed ahead of the curve on several other fronts, including being among the first to offer RSS feeds and blogs – Terrorism & Security: A Daily Update was launched shortly after 9/11 as a way for readers to effectively sift online coverage of the fallout from the attack.

In the same way, this year, csmonitor.com became the main source of information regarding Jill Carroll and the efforts to gain her release. Readers from all over the world were able to turn to the website to contribute their prayers and hopes for her safety. We are looking forward to the time when we can share more of her story.

Now, more major changes are underway as the technological foundation of csmonitor.com is thoroughly rebuilt. Among the changes you will notice:

Free archive: All archive stories back to 1980 are, for the time being, completely free. Only content from the historical archive, stories published between 1908 and 1980, requires a small fee.

Better search: Your searches of csmonitor.com content should result in far more accurate and thorough results.

New story page design: We hope you find articles easier to read because the pages are less cluttered.

A more tightly focused homepage is coming, as part of our ongoing, intensive effort to improve csmonitor.com.

We always welcome your feedback as we explore new ways to provide the best of Monitor journalism, with all the utility and interactivity that the Web offers.

Let us know what you think.

Onward to 11 years and beyond. Thanks for being with us.

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