Christian Science Monitor Going Web-Only

CSM is shifting to an online-only format in the Spring:

We recently announced, as covered in today’s paper, that in April 2009 the daily print edition of The Christian Science Monitor will shift to a 24/7 daily Web publication. This will be combined with the launch of an attractive new weekly print publication that looks behind the headlines and helps readers understand global issues. Also we will launch a new daily e-news edition, delivered by e-mail.

Truly remarkable and smart. This will place CSM ahead of the curve, as I think all newspapers — with the notable exception of those aimed at public transport commuters — will go this way eventually. The cost of printing and distributing a large daily don’t add up in an age where people demand instant information.

Indeed, I found out about this the new fashioned way:  I saw it in my RSS feed.  I subscribe to several of CSM’s sections, despite not having a hard copy of the paper in my hands in perhaps twenty years.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Triumph says:

    CSM is a unique breed, given its non-profit status and subscriber-generated revenue stream, but I think that if they modernized their print distribution system, they could still be successful.

    I used to get a subscription, but they actually used the US mail for delivery. The sum result was that you may get an issue on the day it was published, but more often I would go for several days without getting one and then get like 3 on a single day.

    Their excuse is that they are a national paper–but the NY Times, FT, and USA Today all are able to figure it out.

    They had good, solid analysis, but since I stopped getting a subscription, I don’t think I have ever visited their website.

  2. James Joyner says:

    US mail for delivery. The sum result was that you may get an issue on the day it was published, but more often I would go for several days without getting one and then get like 3 on a single day.

    Yup. I had a trial subscription back in the 1980s and found that rather bizarre, never converting to a real subscription. I started getting their RSS feed several months back, though, and find some good stuff there.

  3. Brett says:

    The NYT might survive with a print edition as well as the on-line edition, but I think at some point they are probably going to have to revert back to requiring an on-line subscription as well as on-line advertising revenue to keep from bleeding money.

  4. Hypnosis says:

    While I was not a reader of the CSM, I must admit that I read most newspapers online myself. Sign of the times… Yet, I find it sad that the glory days of the printed newspaper are clearly history – some of the biggest dailies are struggling seriously. Soon we will carry out ‘Kindle’ to the coffeehouse. Not quite the same…

  5. Triumph says:

    I forgot where I read this, but there is an interesting comparison between newspapers in the US and the UK. The UK has at least 4 or 5, basically national, papers.

    The critique of US papers is that they have been really bad at marketing their product.

    The last time I was in London-about 6 months ago–nearly every paper was giving away film DVDs to persuade people to buy printed copies off the newsstand.

    I find it strange that papers haven’t used a similar strategy here in the US.

    I picked up like 3 DVDs when I was in London just as part of my morning paper-reading routine–unfortunately they all are coded to not play in US DVD players (but that’s another asinine issue, altogether–blame Jack Valenti for that)