MEDIA PROFILE: The Monitor - keeping tabs on the world's cultureand politics

The Christian Science Monitor is often confused for a church

publication, but that's hardly the case. Thom Weidlich reports.



The biggest problem The Christian Science Monitor has with its own

public relations is convincing people that it's not a church

gazette.



It is in fact a highly regarded daily newspaper that has won six

Pulitzer Prizes and is especially lauded for its international coverage.

It has 21 bureaus located in places such as Russia, China, and the

Middle East.



In fact, its stories are often picked up by major dailies through its

syndication service.



The Boston-based paper is, however, put out as a public service by The

First Church of Christ, Scientist (each issue contains one back-book

column on the religion itself). Its coverage is considered to be

unbiased, and often accentuates the positives, as you might expect from

a journal with the motto "to injure no man, but to bless all

mankind."



Although the readership is declining (at 70,000, it's less than half

what it was during its mid-1980s peak), it is still attractive. Readers'

average household income is $93,800, 72.5% have college degrees,

and 80% are homeowners. The average reader is also on the mature side

(59), though the Monitor's website (www.csmonitor.com), which includes

some original content, gets younger visitors.



"Our clients consider it to be a prestigious placement," says John

McGauley, president of Gehrung Associates of Keene, NH, which

specializes in higher-education PR. McGauley says that his agency often

places expert sources in stories.



The front section, covering global and national affairs, includes

articles based on recent studies, which should be enticing to publicists

for charities and non-governmental organizations.



But the real pitching opportunities are in the back. Each day (the paper

is a Monday-Friday daily), the Monitor has a different features section:

Work & Money, Learning (education), Homefront, Ideas (science and

technology, including computers) or Arts & Leisure.



Because it's a national paper, story ideas must have wide appeal. "We

might do a story on something in Portland, OR, but it's got to be

interesting to people in Portland, ME as well," says managing editor

Marshall Ingwerson, who suggests making pitches by e-mailing the right

editor (addresses are on the website).



The Monitor is also fond of trend pieces. "We're interested in stories

that say something about the culture, about the way people live," notes

Ingwerson. For example, the paper recently did a piece on how consumer

attitudes and practices have changed since September 11.



Important to remember in pitching the Monitor are its odd deadlines.



Because most people get it through the mail, the ultimate deadlines are

before 1 PM the day before.



Most of the back pages go out to printers at least two days before they

reach readers. Judy Lowe, acting Homefront editor, says she sketches out

the section - which covers such topics as family, parenting, food, pets,

gardening, and home design - eight days before the Wednesday it comes

out. "So people should really e-mail me a couple of weeks before," she

says.



Lowe is also editor of the travel section, which appears the last week

of the month. Four times a year, it centers on a theme, such as cruises

or Canada. Lowe says she is often pitched by travel publicists, and she

tends to look for the out-of-the-ordinary. "One story that got picked up

a lot by other publications was about renting a cow in Switzerland," she

says. "You could rent a cow or half a cow, and get the cheese for an

entire year."



The St. Louis Convention and Visitor Commission hit it big when the

Monitor ran a full-page favorable feature on the Missouri Botanical

Garden on its October 24 Homefront gardening page. "You couldn't ask for

anything more thoughtfully written about one of your attractions," says

Nancy Milton, vice president of communications at the tourism

commission.



Given the Monitor's motto, you can imagine that the journalists there

tend to be more approachable than many of their peers (especially if

done by e-mail). "They tend to be very pleasant people to deal with,"

says Gehrung Associate's McGauley. "They're open-minded about story

ideas. That doesn't mean they accept everything. They have a pretty high

bar."



CONTACT LIST

The Christian Science Monitor

Address: 1 Norway Street

Boston, MA 02115

Tel: (617) 450-7034

Fax/newsroom: (617) 450-7575

Web: www.csmonitor.com

Editor: Paul Van Slambrouck

Managing editor: Marshall Ingwerson

International: David Clark Scott

National: Scott Armstrong

Op-Ed: Linda Feldmann

Arts & Leisure: Greg M. Lamb

Homefront & Travel: Judy Lowe

Work & Money: Clay Collins

Washington editor: Peter Grier



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