John Nordell/TCSM/File

Ruth Walker, member of the Monitor family

Ms. Walker has passed on. Here’s a brief bio and a link to some of her best columns.

We regret to report that longtime Monitor staffer and contributor Ruth Walker passed away Sept. 4. Ruth joined the Monitor in Boston in 1978 as a recent Oberlin College grad.

She held many posts in Boston and abroad: New England bureau reporter, business reporter, editorial writer, and deputy editor. She was also a staff correspondent in Germany, Australia, and Canada. As befits someone who loves, respects, and is curious about language, Ruth began writing about words in her “Verbal Energy” column in 2004, when she was copy desk chief.

Here’s a list of Monitor copy editor Casey Fedde's favorite "Verbal Energy" columns:

How to be possessive about apostrophes

How many o's in 'ka-booom'?

The wages of typos – in pounds and pence

Sit tight, drive safe, and watch for flat adverbs

Constitutional copy-editing

Slipping into my cloak of transparency

The copy editor who came in from the cold

The colonization of our book titles

Spacing out, but just one at a time

Pointing our way to clear communication

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

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

QR Code to Ruth Walker, member of the Monitor family
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today