The Monitor turns off the press

The Christian Science Monitor is turning off its press and going fully online. I heard about this at my conference on new business models for news last week and said it makes perfect sense. The Monitor is a powerful and respected brand that already serves an international audience. I hadn’t looked at it on paper in decades but I’ve read its stories online. Paper was a drag. At the Times story reports, there was discussion among more editors and publishers at the conference about giving up the press. We’ll see more of this.

  • At lunch today, I attended panel on the 2008 elections. I was struck by the fact that none of the panelists were from newspapers even though pollsters, internet bloggers, and TV journalists were represented. In past years, that would have seemed odd. How could we talk about an election without hearing from a newspaper journalist? This year, I may have been the only one who noticed the missing players…

    Is it possible that 2012 will be the first “post-newspaper” election in our nation’s history? If so, what does that mean? What will we have lost?

    bob wyman

  • tdc

    trees are smiling today.

  • Ok, who cares about the CSM?

    But, I simply cannot be the only person left in America who actually likes to sit and read a newspaper (OK, about twice a week at best*). Its linear, easier to read than a small screen and makes my hands dirty.

    *Hmmm, maybe twice a week doesn’t represent a good business model.

  • Jeff, as I noted in my blog post about this, the Monitor is not going online only. They are starting a weekly magazine that provides analysis. The online edition provides daily coverage.

    To me, this is a very exciting development. What the monitor is proposing is letting the Web do what it does best, while also letting print do what it does best.

    Does this just make too much sense for most newspapers to attempt?

  • FC

    “People buy what they trust. It is obvious they do not trust the NY or LA Times, Washington Post or even the OC Register.”

    An interesting point of view. That was written last April. Now it’s dead woodstock. I believe the biggest problem is that the newspapers lost family control. It’s too corporate, so the way to save a paper is to go back to the first principles of the newspaper business and get away from the stock market. People don’t trust the stock market and it’s going to take the newspaper business down with it. You try telling people something for their own good and they don’t seem to listen. The presses will keep rolling, they’ll just roll out more losses. Family control makes all the difference. It’s always been that way and always will be that way. Some things never change.

  • John

    I have free access to a daily copy of the Chicago Tribune but rarely read it anymore. By the time any story hits the Tribune, it’s been talked to death on the blogs. The only reason I ever page through it is to get a general sense of what the non-internet public is hearing about and what they’re not being told, not to learn new factual information.

    I work in a workshop where we need a regular supply of large sheets of paper to cover the tables when we are doing messy things. Hence the Tribune subscription. I was kidding with my extremely Liberal boss about what we would do for paper when the Tribune went out of business. The only rival in Chicago is the Sun Times, and the Sun Times has tabloid-sized pages, so it would not be a valid substitute. I mentioned that I didn’t figure on the Tribune being around much longer than a year or two. To my surprise he agreed.

    For demographic purposes I’m 41 years old.

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  • DonAZ

    We lose nothing when newspapers stop putting ink on paper.

    Truly. Nothing.

    I can recall not many years ago people lamented the decline of movie theaters. They too are a dying breed, and with the advent of high-quality home theaters and an ever-shortening cycle from release to DVD, we will see the theaters close shop.

    And the world will go on.

    The same with papers.

    Weep not.

  • Bill

    The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper will be gone as well in few years. Some years ago it was sued for reporting higher paid subscriptions than it had, it continues to lose customers.
    The paper supports every tax increase the Democratic Mayor of Milwaukee and Democratic Governor of Wisconsin wants. You do not want to locate a business and or retire in WI, high taxes and going higher .

  • FC

    The thing is, the newspaper is a half a buck. They can print a coupon in the paper for a buck off and sell more papers. I worked at a mall. We had coupons in the paper for the store. People were buying out the whole news stand and leaving the papers on the seating. For some reason they only print coupons for the Sunday paper here. With the tough economy people have a demand for coupons. Some people take coupons to the extreme. Stores used to double the coupons. Now it’s all loyalty cards, credit cards and computers. I think the old way worked better. Cash, carry and coupons. I’m still spinning vinyl here.

  • Dick Eagleson

    Family control makes all the difference. It’s always been that way and always will be that way. Some things never change.

    That used to be said about entire nation-states too. We still have a few godawful places like Saudi Arabia around to remind us of the unwisdom of that particular viewpoint.

    Seriously, dude, it doesn’t even work with newspapers. I have two words for you: Pinch Sulzberger.

    I’m still spinning vinyl here.

    Wax cylinders, more likely, methinks.

  • Rich Vail

    I stopped reading a print paper 4 years ago when I moved to the Baltimore, MD area…the Balt Sun/Wash Post are the only 2 real choices (Wash Times/Balt Examiner–aren’t all that good, though their editorials are ok) to read here and are tilted heavily left (Post) or simply report Demicratic Talking points….so I just gave up reading news papers and get ALL of my news online or from Foxnews…think about it. Nearly all of the Republicans I know are doing the same.

  • FC

    Too much consolidation, too few families. Limited choices in an unlimited world. I’m old enough to remember all those little local newspapers. One by one they went down. The kids didn’t want to run the business. The paperboys all disappeared too. Everybody is glued to a computer screen. I guess we can look forward to no more books next. The wonderful future.

  • Rich Vail said: “I … get ALL of my news online or from Foxnews… Nearly all of the Republicans I know are doing the same.”

    One of the “good” things we got from the old world of geographical newspaper monopolies was a common base for dialog on issues within the geographic region. Also, reliance on the AP tended to homogenize the broader scope data that was read within all geographies… Since there was only one paper in most markets and since it was the primary source of information for most policy discussions, everyone ended up working off the same base of information — whatever their perspective might be. But with the rise of competitive news sources, what we get is a fragmented discussion. The “Democrats” watch CNN or MSNBC and the “Republicans” watch Fox. The two groups are fed a very, very different set of “facts” and thus we see a real and serious degradation in the quality of the dialog. It used to be that people fought over how to interpret the facts. Today, we see more of a debate over the facts themselves.

    bob wyman

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  • William Waites

    It was 1983. I was involved with the development of what was then known as Videotex. It was a forerunner of the WWW.

    I spoke to a group of newspaper advertising people and said, without reservation, that newspapers were on a collision course with oblivion.

    So, I was little early.

    And no one in the audience took heed of my prognostications.

    Newspapers are wedded to a dying technology. And like an ambulance that crashes carrying the victim to the hospital, newspapers committed their own suicide by giving up the one thing they had that could have kept them alive. Objectivity.

  • Just a smallish issue, Jeff: CSM continues a print edition, but a weekly instead of a daily.

  • old memories, ha, sentimental feeling…

  • DiaeW

    One of the partners chosen by the Monitor to help implement this on-line edition has this post on its company blog today regarding the project

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