The Christian Science Monitor - Concept and Inception

Concept and Inception

Despite its name, the Monitor does not claim to be a religious-themed paper, and says it does not promote the doctrine of its patron church. However, at its founder Eddy's request, a daily religious article has appeared in every issue of the Monitor. Eddy also required the inclusion of "Christian Science" in the paper's name, over initial opposition by some of her advisors who thought the religious reference might repel a secular audience.

The Monitor's inception was, in part, a response by Eddy to the journalism of her day, which relentlessly covered the sensations and scandals surrounding her new religion with varying degrees of accuracy. In addition, Joseph Pulitzer's New York World was consistently critical of Eddy, and this, along with a derogatory article in McClure's, furthered Eddy's decision to found her own media outlet.

Eddy declared that the Monitor's mission should be "to injure no man, but to bless all mankind."

The Monitor was originally published in broadsheet form but later switched to tabloid format. The newspaper has struggled since the 1960s to enlarge its circulation and turn a profit. The church's directors and the manager of the Christian Science Publishing Society were purportedly forced to plan cutbacks and closures (later denied), which led in 1989 to the mass protest resignations by its famed editor Kay Fanning (an ASNE president and former editor of the Anchorage Daily News), managing editor David Anable, associate editor David Winder, and several other newsroom staff. These developments presaged administrative moves to scale back the print newspaper in favor of expansions into radio, a glossy magazine, shortwave broadcasting, and television. Expenses, however, rapidly outpaced revenues, contradicting predictions by church directors. On the brink of bankruptcy, the board was forced to close the broadcast programs.

The paper has been known for avoiding sensationalism, producing a "distinctive brand of nonhysterical journalism". In 1997, the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, a publication critical of United States policy in the Middle East, praised the Monitor for its objective and informative coverage of Islam and the Middle East.

In the dystopian future world of Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World," in which Christianity was displaced by a cult that centered on Henry Ford, the paper is mentioned as continuing publication under the name "The Fordian Science Monitor."

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