Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - December 29, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Compact” Christian Science Monitor
The Cedar Rapids Gazette: Sun., Dec. 29, 1974 _JA.
By Martin Arnold
New York Times Service
ROMON — Hic Christian Science Monitor, one of the world’s most prestigious daily newspapers, is getting ready to undergo some startling changes
ll is, for instance, going to liecome a tabloid, although it does not like to use that word and prefers instead to say that it is going "com* pact.”
I he Monitor is also going to scrap its daily overseas edition and replace it with a weekly overseas paper, which will really be sort of a magazine. It will include the best of that week s Monitor plus some specially written material.
All this, and some other changes, arc mainly but not entirely a result of the economics of newspaper publishing, a tough business indeed that is faced with rising production expenses, particularly the cost of now sprint, and lower advertising revenues (hat reflect the country’s slumping economy.
Twice as Maiy
The compact Christian Science Monitor will come out on April I. and its pages will be half their present ‘•i/e, although there will la* about twice as many each day. Thus the paper s "news hole" — the amount of space given to news — will remain about the same The weekly will replace the overseas daily a week or so later
Other changes are planned The paper s
management is shopping around for ways to get into radio and television — not to own sta turns but to lake part in some sort of profitable public events and news programs
The Monitor will increase its yearly subscription price on April I from SM to $40 and its newsstand price from 15 to 25 cents The weekly, airmailed to readers from London. will cost $25 There have been recently, and there will continue to be, some modest staff reductions 'Chis will involve about to persons, according to John Hughes, the editor, but few of them will be reporters or editors.
Loses $.) Million
Only during three brief periods since its founding in IOO* has the Monitor made money, the last time being for a short period after World war ll Management refuses to discuss the paper s finances, but an informed estimate is that it loses $5 million annually
This would doubtless be fatal to almost anv other newspaper but the Monitor, published by the Christian Science Publishing Society, is underwritten by the f irst Church of Christ. Scientist, which has its headquarters here where it has substantial real estate holdings The paper is not a religious journal, limiting itself lo one religious article a dav
The Church is more than solvent; it is wealthy, although the present state of ihe economy has affected its investments, and contributions from members are down
"We’re very interested in eliminating any
deficit the paper may have, says Hughes in his modified British accent
Rut he insists I bg! he is not being pressured into making serious cutbacks that will affect the paper s quality. The Church, in short, will keep the paper viable, whatever the cost.
tine < orrespondent
Still, recently among other things, the Monitor closed its Tokyo and Paris bureaus It left one correspondent to cover all of Asia but India and another responsible for f’aris and London, working out of London.
These cutbac ks have less effect on the paper, however, than they would on nearly any other newspaper of comparable prestige, for the Monitor is a daily newspaper unlike any other in the C. S
It does not, for instance, cover news very much on a s|>ot basis — as it is happening, the type of news that makes up the hulk of most newspapers Bather, it accepts the fact that it is not the only newspaper its readers will read and most of its articles are more leisurely written background pieces, attempting to give the reader not the event as it unfolded but the meaning behind the event, so the bulk of its stories are roughly equivalent to what would be labeled ‘ ro ws analysis in th** New York Times
This is largely because more than 91) percent of the Monitor's readers — ifs present f ir ciliation is 201,000 — receive it by mail and sometimes they do not get if until days after it is printed
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