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The Deacon's Bench

This is a pretty remarkable piece of news — poignant and, perhaps, prophetic. For the first time, a major American newspaper is abandoning paper and ink:

After a century of continuous publication, The Christian Science Monitor will abandon its weekday print edition and appear online only, its publisher announced Tuesday. The cost-cutting measure makes The Monitor the first national newspaper to essentially give up on print.

The paper is currently published Monday through Friday, and will move to online only in April, although it will also introduce a Sunday magazine. John Yemma, The Monitor’s editor, said that moving to the Web only will mean it can keep its eight foreign bureaus open while still lowering costs.

“We have the luxury — the opportunity — of making a leap that most newspapers will have to make in the next five years,” Mr. Yemma said.

The Monitor is an anachronism in journalism, a nonprofit financed by a church and delivered through the mail. But with seven Pulitzer Prizes and a reputation for thoughtful writing and strong international coverage, it long maintained an outsize influence in the publishing world, which declined as its circulation has slipped to 52,000, from a high of more than 220,000 in 1970.

In an industry that has been conducting layoffs, closing bureaus and shrinking the size of the product, The Monitor’s experiment will be tracked very closely.

“Everybody’s talking about new models,” Mr. Yemma said. “This is a new model.”

You can find more at the link. And you can get a glimpse of the future, and read the Monitor’s account of what it’s doing, right here.

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