Readers write: ‘Perception Gaps’ podcast, and Sahara exploration

Letters to the editor for the Feb. 25, 2019 weekly magazine.

Scott Peterson/Getty Images/The Christian Science Monitor
Ethnic Tuareg nomads wearing turbans ride on camels through a city on the edge of the Sahara Desert on October 5, 2018, in Agadez, Niger.

‘Perception Gaps’ podcast

Thanks again for making this podcast. I think you have a great formula of giving balanced information and reporting on important, hot-button issues. 

Hopefully, these will be the start of many conversations with my friends and family.

Matt Skinner

Los Angeles

Your “Perception Gaps” podcast series is one of the most interesting things I’ve come across in a long time.... I especially enjoyed the gun suicide segment because I learned that I was one of those folks who was completely wrong in my statistical assumptions.

Bob Benchley

Miami

I learned so much from the episode about our addiction crisis. It completely changed my perspective and put the issue into context in a way no one else seems to be doing. 

I found that there was a lot to mull over in such a short piece.

Rebecca Clower

Boston

Sahara exploration

It was wonderful to read the story of your intrepid reporters Scott Peterson and Peter Ford as detailed in the Jan. 28 Heart of the News article “In the Sahara, a vast emptiness etched with a thousand paths.”

I’ve been to Agadez, Niger, and from there to Bilma. I bent a knee at the house in Agadez where Heinrich Barth, the great German explorer of Sudan, stayed and watched camel caravans bring salt south from the salt-mining areas. 

Does the salt trade still exist? I doubt it. It seemed doomed when we were there in 2002. It’s hard to compete with commercial salt suppliers. 

I found our trek fascinating, exalting, and arduous. Glad to be reminded of that journey! 

Frederic Hunter

Santa Barbara, Calif.

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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.

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