Friday, October 31, 2008
Reading my morning fix of media news on mediabistro.com, I don't know why I was surprised with this week's announcement that the Christian Science Monitor, a magazine-like daily newspaper, was turning weekly to concentrate on producing Web news. Given the diminishing nature of the newspaper business, the Monitor is just one in a string of large dailies scaling back in one form or another. Over the years, I've freelanced my share of feature stories to the Monitor. The editors were on top of articles, always making suggestions to flesh out the stories even more. A few years ago, during an interview with Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, he told me how much his elderly mother enjoyed the paper. "She's a subscriber," he said. She read the hard copy, of course, not the Web edition. Now, the Monitor, after 100 years of print journalism, will become the magazine it's felt like anyway for a long time -- in-depth coverage and think pieces with a wide appeal. They also like publishing international stories with a local flavor. I learned that in 1998 when I visited Rachael Levy -- a former reporter with me at the Las Vegas Sun -- who at the time was living in Amsterdam with her husband Marcel. Rachael had written a piece a couple months earlier about a Dutch version of Santa Claus that got a lot of notice. That was my real introduction to the Monitor, although I'd casually read it over the years. After I flew home from The Netherlands, I readied a pitch for an article for the Monitor. They took it, and I continued writing for them, off and on, for nearly a decade. I'll miss the daily Monitor. But I look forward to reading it online. Alas, the future of journalism is upon us.