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Newspapers' future: news-paperless, or newspaper-less? Century-old Christian Science Monitor ends daily print, goes online


By WcP.Tomorrows.H... - Posted on 02 November 2008

Mary Baker Eddy was the founder of the Christian Science movement - she advocated Christian Science as a spiritual practical solution to health and moral issues

(quote)

The century-old Christian Science Monitor announced Tuesday that it will become the first nationally distributed newspaper to stop publishing a daily print edition, and focus on publishing online, succumbing to the financial pressure squeezing its industry harder than ever. The Boston-based paper is not forsaking print altogether - it will offer a weekly print version in addition to daily e-mail editions - but editors acknowledged shifting the focus to CSMonitor.com will save millions in addition to widening its audience.

The Boston-based general-interest paper, winner of seven Pulitzer Prizes, has long since established an extraordinary reputation for high-quality journalism. It was founded a century ago in 1908 by a religious visionary, Mary Baker Eddy, who "discovered" Christian Science and founded the paper in response to critical coverage of her in the New York World. She declared in the first edition that the role of the paper would be to "injure no man, but bless all mankind."

entrance to the Christian Science Monitor building in Boston. A century after it began publication, the paper is giving up its daily print edition to focus on posting news online

The Monitor's circulation has fallen from a peak of 223,000 in 1970 to about 50,000 now, while its online traffic has soared. The newspaper gets about 5 million page-views per month, compared with about 4 million five years ago and 1 million a decade ago. "Within the media industry in general, I think there's a real recognition that the ... old business model for print journalism is broken," the paper's editor, John Yemma, said in a video on CSMonitor.com. "It's very difficult to distribute - to print, to cut down the trees, to bring the ink, to run the presses, to drive the trucks, to distribute a print newspaper product."

John Yemma, editor of The Monitor, said it was making a leap that most newspapers will have to make in the next five years

The move comes on the heels of circulation numbers released Monday that paint a gloomy picture of a slumping newspaper industry as readers and advertisers migrate to the Web, forcing a tide of layoffs and bureau closings. On Tuesday, Gannett Co. Inc., the nation's largest newspaper publisher, said it plans to cut 10 percent of its community newspaper division, totaling about 3,000 employees. The Los Angeles Times on Monday laid off 75 newsroom employees after letting go 130 staffers in July. And the Newark Star-Ledger, New Jersey's largest daily, recently announced it will cut about 40 percent of its newsroom staff.

masthead on the front page of The Christian Science Monitor

While newspapers across the country have been beefing up their Web sites, the Monitor is the most prominent paper to discontinue its regular print version, which comes out five days a week and often suffers from mail delays. The change is slated for April. The Monitor, which receives its funding from the Christian Science Church, has been subsidized for most of its 100-year history, largely insulating it from market forces. The paper is projected to lose $18.9 million this year on a church subsidy of $12.1 million. The new strategy is expected to cut that loss to $10.5 million by 2013. The e-mail edition will be sent to subscribers in the form of a PDF file Monday through Friday. Its weekly print product will be aimed at subscribers looking for a weekend read, a 44-page publication that reads like a news magazine, and looks like a hybrid between a newspaper and a magazine, Mr. Yemma said.

employees of The Monitor looking through a prototype of a weekly newsmagazine that will supplement the Web site

Across the country, daily circulation at 16 of the 25 biggest papers fell more than 5 percent in September compared with a year ago, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The decline was exacerbated this past summer by a pullback in advertising amid a weakened economy. The biggest change among the nation's 25 largest papers was the 13.6 percent drop in circulation at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which raised prices and cut its distribution by a third.

(unquote)

Photos courtesy of Wikipedia, AP Photo/Elise Amendola, and Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor

Original Source: Washington Times, AP, and Boston Globe

Related Articles: Christian Science Paper to End Daily Print Edition and Delivering the news without the paper

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