Christian Science Monitor

From Academic Kids

The Christian Science Monitor is an international newspaper published daily, Monday through Friday. Started in 1908 by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist, the paper does not use wire services and instead relies largely on its own reporters in bureaus in eleven countries around the world. Reporters at one time were drawn largely from church members but this no longer holds true.

Despite its name, the Monitor was not established to be a religious-themed paper, nor does it directly promote the doctrine of its patron church. However, at its founder Eddy's request, a daily religious article has appeared in every issue of the Monitor. Eddy also required the inclusion of "Christian Science" in the paper's name, over initial opposition by some of her advisors who thought the religious reference might repel a secular audience.

The Monitor's inception was, in part, a response by Eddy to the infamous yellow journalism of her day. Shortly after Eddy's Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures was published, the book's popularity caught the attention of Joseph Pulitzer. Eddy was 86 years old at the height of her popularity and wealth when Pulitzer launched a campaign to wrest control of Eddy's estate using his newspaper, New York World, as a weapon against her. Pulitzer eventually persuaded Eddy's disaffected former friends and her only son to sue for control of the estate. The World harassed Eddy with muckraking articles and accusatory editorials but when the estate case was finally heard in court, the so-called "Next Friends Suit" was ultimately dismissed. Eddy declared that the Monitor's mission should be "to injure no man, but to bless all mankind." Pulitzer later endowed the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for journalism which the Monitor subsequently won seven times. It is particularly well known for its in-depth coverage of the Middle East, publishing material from veteran Middle East specialists like John K. Cooley.

In comparison to other major newspapers and journalistic magazines, the Monitor tends to take a steady and slightly upbeat approach to national and world news. Some of its readers prefer the Monitor because it avoids sensationalism, particularly with respect to tragedies, and for its objectivity and integrity although the staff, working under the close eye of the church's five-member board of directors, avoids reporting controversial and unfavorable issues involving the church.

The Monitor (or "CSM" as it is known in the intelligence community) is widely read by CIA and other intelligence agency analysts because of the newspaper's attention to accuracy and global perspective. Project Censored noted that the Monitor often publishes factual articles discussing topics under-represented or absent from the mainstream mass media.

The Monitor was originally published in broadsheet form but today it is published in tabloid format. The newspaper has struggled since the 1960s to enlarge its circulation and turn a profit. The church's directors and the manager of the Christian Science Publishing Society were purportedly forced to plan cutbacks and closures (later denied), which led in 1989 to the mass protest resignations by its famed editor Kay Fanning (an ASNE president and former editor of the Anchorage Daily News), managing editor David Anable, associate editor David Winder, and several other newsroom staff. These developments presaged administrative moves to scale back the print newspaper in favor of expansions into radio, a glossy magazine, shortwave broadcasting, and television. Expenses, however, rapidly outpaced revenues, contradicting predictions by church directors. On the brink of bankruptcy, the board was forced to close the broadcast programs.

The print edition continued to struggle for readership, and, in 2004, faced a renewed mandate from the church to turn a profit. The Monitor, more quickly than other newspapers, turned to the World Wide Web for its future. The Web offered the paper the opportunity to overcome the severe cost and logistical difficulties of mailing out a daily international newspaper. The Monitor was one of the first newspapers to put its text online (in 1996), and also one of the first to launch a PDF edition (in 2001). It was also an early pioneer of RSS feeds. Even as the website struggled to support itself with advertising, the print edition lost more money and was forced to lay off a number of staff.

External links

fr:The Christian Science Monitor ja:クリスチャン・サイエンス・モニター pl:Christian Science Monitor


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