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Key links:
Primary website:
csmonitor.com
Primary Twitter:
@csmonitor

Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate. It’s best used as a snapshot of the media landscape at that point in time.

The Christian Science Monitor is a Boston-based online news organization and former newspaper, the first national American newspaper to replace its daily print edition with a web operation.

The Monitor is a nonprofit organization owned by the First Church of Christ, Scientist. Though the Monitor has been subsidized by the Christian Science church for most of its history (about $7.5 million annually in total subsidy as of 2014) and publishes a daily religious article, it is not a religious publication.

The Monitor was founded in 1908 as an alternative to the yellow journalism of that era. It specializes in in-depth foreign reporting and analytical journalism. The Monitor has won seven Pulitzer Prizes. It also was one of the first American newspapers to put content online, in 1995, and one of the first to use RSS, in 2002.

With steadily falling circulation and projected annual losses of $18.9 million, the Monitor announced in late 2008 it would shift its print edition from a daily to a weekly and operate as a web-based organization. The change was made largely for financial reasons, as the paper’s relatively small circulation and wide distribution area made a daily print edition particularly expensive to produce and deliver. With the move online, the Monitor is working to gradually lessen its reliance on the church’s subsidy.

The Monitor’s editor, John Yemma, said the shift to the web would include the addition of shorter, newsier, more blog-like stories, as well as the Monitor’s traditional longer-form stories. Its website remains characterized by original text stories and photography, rather than video or interactive elements, although some digressions from that path, such as the Little Bill Clinton series of blog posts, multimedia, and traditional reporting, have won critical praise.

One year after its March 2010 move online, the Monitor’s web traffic grew significantly, and its print circulation rose from 43,000 to 77,000, with 93 percent of its daily subscribers retaining its weekly edition. By 2014, it had about 50,000 subscribers to its weekly print magazine. The Monitor’s advertising revenue reportedly grew about 25% each year from 2011 to 2013.

The newspaper produces a daily PDF e-edition with shortened versions of stories. The edition was sent to about 2,000 subscribers via email as of March 2010 and about 10,000 subscribers in 2014. It also produced a weekly digital replica of its print edition for $4.99 per month.

The Monitor has eight staffed foreign bureaus. Since 2008, the Monitor has shared foreign bureaus and expenses with the McClatchy newspaper chain.

Recent Nieman Lab coverage:
May 8, 2017 / Laura Hazard Owen
The Christian Science Monitor’s new paid, daily product is aiming for 10,000 subscribers in a year — “If the Monitor were to vanish, what would the world lose, really?” That’s the first line of a column will appear in next week’s print issue of The Christian Science Monitor Weekly, the 109-year-o...
Jan. 18, 2017 / Laura Hazard Owen
The Christian Science Monitor is betting big on constructive, non-depressing (but paid-for) news — Where do you go, these days, if you want to read news without feeling utterly hopeless about the state of the world? The Christian Science Monitor wants to be that slightly more hopeful place — not by glossing over ser...
Feb. 10, 2016 / Laura Hazard Owen
The Christian Science Monitor has a new project to provide more positive takes on global news — What do you think of when you think of The Christian Science Monitor? Well, the news organization hopes that you think of it as a place that’s been providing “calming context on global news” since 1908,...
Nov. 19, 2015 / Shan Wang
The Christian Science Monitor built a separate site just for coverage of the Paris climate talks — Paris is currently in the global limelight because of the terrorist attacks last Friday, but at the end of the month delegates from around the world will converge there for the United Nations Climate Change Conference. N...
July 1, 2015 / Justin Ellis
How research (and PowerPoints) became the backbone of National Journal’s membership program — In fall 2011, Atlantic Media chairman David Bradley wrote an memo about his career, leading right up to when he bought National Journal and The Atlantic Monthly. It was a roadmap wrapped around a personal narrative, a pu...

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Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: June 12, 2014.
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Encyclo is made possible by a grant from the Knight Foundation.
The Nieman Journalism Lab is a collaborative attempt to figure out how quality journalism can survive and thrive in the Internet age.
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