Readers write: Getting beyond shocking news headlines

Letters to the editor for the June 6, 2022 weekly magazine. Readers discuss what make the Monitor different and why flight shame isn't helpful for everyone. 

New view of Global Currents

I recently viewed two online events hosted by The Christian Science Monitor. Listening to the journalists and editors describe what goes into writing a story and how they look at the bigger picture has given me a new outlook on the news. The internet is full of the latest shocking news headlines, but I read the Monitor in order to understand situations more fully and to learn about things that don’t make the headlines online. 

For example, when I picked up the March 7 issue of the Monitor Weekly, I read the first three articles and loved how they were so different from most news stories I read. 

Then I realized that it was because they were all about the bigger picture: how a restoration of trust is helping our response to Ukraine, what it’s like to be a Mexican journalist, and what is involved when people want to ban books. I later realized that these were grouped in a section called Global Currents. 

When the Monitor recently created these categories, I didn’t pay any attention to them. Now I understand that Global Currents is about the bigger picture, the currents of thought regarding current events, and not just about a specific event (such as one particular book that people want to ban).

I usually read an issue of the Monitor from the last page forward (so does my mom). That way, I can read about things that I don’t see when I glance at the online news. The In Pictures feature shows me more about the world. Interviews introduce me to new people and books. I used to love reading the Verbal Energy column, and I am so very happy that you are continuing the tradition with In a Word.  

Suzanne Soulé
Surprise, Arizona

Shame-free flying

I understand the science and applaud the commitment found in the May 23 Weekly article “Grounded, and loving it. Can giving up air travel bring joy?” 

But I don’t think any of the people mentioned live on small islands like Puerto Rico, where I live, or Oahu, Hawaii, where I used to live. Travel options from such locales are obviously limited. I’m not aware of any “racing yachts” available to me for travel to New York to see family. Additionally, I doubt my employer would grant a few extra weeks of vacation time to accommodate sea travel, as much as I might like it. 

I wish only to make the point that not everyone has the same options and alternatives for travel mentioned in the article. I would also add that given the pandemic world that we now live in, I have not flown anywhere in close to three years. If I am able to get on a plane this summer to visit friends and family or simply to get out of Puerto Rico, I will do so without any flight shame, or flygskam, as they say in Sweden.

Clark Sherman
Lajas, Puerto Rico

Elephant compassion

“How Sam Wasser became an ivory detective” from the May 16 Weekly was a fascinating, and ultimately hopeful, article. With every discovery about the remarkable intelligence of elephants, the world gains greater compassion for them. 

Elephants deserve to be allowed to live and flourish, along with all wild animals. The article opened my eyes to the interconnectedness of transnational crime and the damage it does to ecosystems. 

I’d love a report from a different angle about what, if anything, is going on to change culture or lessen the demand for these endangered animals. 

Bonnie Shaver

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What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

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

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