The Monitor’s participation in the Poynter-Koch Fellowship

Three Monitor staffers are enrolled in the program, which helps young journalists develop their skills.

The Christian Science Monitor is committed to developing its next generation of reporters. Monitor journalism requires some unusual skills, like the ability to see the world differently than is sometimes the habit in journalism – constructively, deeply, and with credible hope, for instance. But it also just means being an excellent journalist – understanding ethics, law, and the basics of reporting in a multimedia world.

That is why three of our staff members are participating in the Poynter-Koch Media & Journalism Fellowship though the summer of 2020. At a time when the industry is facing significant financial headwinds, the fellowship offers us an opportunity to help young staff members receive professional instruction and interact with their peers across a range of publications. (The Fellowship pays a percentage of participants’ salaries, offsetting costs.)

The Monitor is aware of the political activities of Charles Koch, chairman of the Charles Koch Institute that runs the program. The participation agreement states that the Monitor “maintains complete editorial control over the Fellows’ work and is solely responsible for the work produced by the Fellows.” Moreover, the Poynter Institute has an exemplary record as a center of journalistic excellence and integrity. The Fellowship is a unique opportunity to expand our staff members’ horizons and skills.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.