History of Newspapers: The Christian Science Monitor Part 2

About the history of the United States newspaper The Christian Science Monitor, information and some of their scoops.


The Present. The Christian Science Monitor is one of the most respected newspapers in the world. It is noted for its thoughtful treatment of the news and careful editing. (The paper rarely runs much over 20 pages.) Like many European elite papers, it tries to put the news in perspective and analyze it. The Monitor has won innumerable awards for its excellent journalism.

Erwin Dain Canham, who was made editor in chief in 1964, stated in his book Commitment to Freedom: "The Monitor does not leave out news just because it is unpleasant, nro seek to throw a rosy glow over a world that is often far from rosy. To describe the Monitor as a 'clean' Newspaper is correct but incomplete. It also strives to expse whatever needs to be uncovered in order to be removed or remedied. It seeks to put the news in a sound perspective, giving greatest emphasis to what is important and reducing the merely sensational to its place in the accurate system of values."

The paper is owned by the trustees of the Christian Science Monitor Publishing Committee; its directors are the directors of the First Church of Christ Scientist. The religion influences some of the Monitor's taboos: no drug advertising, no pictures depicting smoking or drinking (though it did publish a picture of Churchill with his famous cigar), very little emphasis on medical ness, no coverage of blood sports. The paper has fought against compulsory medical examinations, inculations, and other medical procedures. It does not use the words "dead," "death," or "dying" in relation to people and accepts no paid death notices. Its phrase for death is "passed on." (There is an appocryphal story about a Monitor corresdpndent filing a story about "passed-on mules" on a W. W. I battlefield.)

No matter what its taboos, the Monitor is widely read by highly literate, influential people all over the world; it has daily editions in over 120 nations and a huge staff of professional journalists, with full-time correspondents stationed in several countries.

Scoops. Since the Monitor is an afternoon paper which stresses thoughtful presentaton of the news, it claims few sensational scoops. However--

In 1910, in a Monitor interview, Thomas Edison predicted 3-dimensional television. The interview might be termed a long-range scoop.

On October 3, 1923, the paper published an exclusive interview with Hitler which clearly brought out the danger of his ideas. On the same page was an article by Churchill.

On May 14, 1928, it warned against the dangers of the bull market.

As early as march, 1941, the Monitor printed news about Hitler's plan to invade the Soviet Union, an event which took place in June of that year.

Merits. The Monitor is respected worldwide as a balanced, thoughtful paper which presents significant, serious news in a highly professional manner.

Demerits. The Monitor tends to avoid sensational news. It printed nothing about the Charles Starkweather murders, and covered the Greenlease kidnapping the day after it happened. However, it did print an item about some Chinese students who tried to kill Chou En-lai with a penknife.

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