The Re-birth of the Christian Science Monitor

The online edition of Folio magazine has an excellent article about the business plan of the Christian Science Monitor changing from a daily newspaper to a weekly news magazine and also a video with the Monitor’s publisher:

http://www.foliomag.com/2010/media-mavericks

I’m not a media critic, and I don’t think the Monitor is a market for freelancers.  I’m not qualified to comment upon the long-range plans of The Monitor, but I will explain to you my personal experiences as the result of the change.

I am not a Christian Scientist, and I do not think the periodical particularly reflects a religious point of view.  I read the online version for several years because of the quality of their writing and the depth of their news coverage.  Now I have reversed and no longer read the online version and have subscribed to the weekly print magazine.  Here’s why:

I have been a loyal subscriber to Time magazine for many years, but I really can’t justify my preference for it over Newsweek or U.S. News & World Report. I’ve been disappointed with the changes in the print version of Time, and I only occasionally visit their mobile version on my iPhone when I’m waiting for someone.  I’ve been more fickle in my business reading and have migrated over time from Fortune to Forbes to Business Week. I already had dropped my subscription to Business Week before McGraw-Hill sold it to Bloomberg.

But to get back to the subject of the Monitor, I really like their coverage of international news, which I think that Time has dumbed down.  I like the layout, and they don’t have all that front matter clutter.  Their writing is succinct but more complete than USA Today. They seem to have fewer ads, and while that obviously affects their profitability it makes the publication more readable in my opinion.  I’m willing to pay more to avoid all that advertising clutter of things I’m not interested in, which is why I record some of my favorite TV shows or view their Podcasts.  Time-Warner gets more money from me for a DVR, and Apple gets more exposure through iTunes.  You get the worst of both worlds with CNN.com mobile that both charges for subscriptions and has ads.

I rely more on Charlie Rose and Fareed Zakaria to give more in-depth coverage of significant issues in their interviews than what I can get in the limited coverage of news weekly.  I want to find out what’s really going on in the world more than just the news of the day that is repeatedly endlessly in various online and cable outlets.  I don’t care who got there first; that only feeds the egos of the journalists and their editors.  Maybe it can help in selling ads, but I don’t care.

Aside from the announcement of the proposal to sell Newsweek, my interest in news magazines was peaked by reading Alan Brinkley’s biography The Publisher: Henry Luce and his American Century. As a serious historian he gives me more information than I really want to know, but it does have some intriguing moments.  I saw a parallel between the brashness of Hadden and Luce in their generation and the Google boys in ours.  The boldness of both groups evolved into media empires.

As you can see, I read a lot of magazines and try to write for a few. Although I’m fairly well indoctrinated into the crevices of the WWW, I don’t have a lot of digital samples to promote since most of my writing was before the Internet.

Please see my prior post about writers who don’t read.

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