Print outlets find solution for decline in circulation

The Christian Science Monitor reports its print circulation has nearly doubled since last year, when it ended its daily print edition in favor of a weekly print/online model

In the news
The Christian Science Monitor reports its print circulation has nearly doubled since last year, when it ended its daily print edition in favor of a weekly print/online model.

Why does it matter?
As a former high-profile daily, the Monitor (which is owned by the Church of Christ, Scientist, but is an international news - not a religious - title) may serve as a pioneer for a newspaper industry looking to adapt to declining circulation. While it maintains its media brand, the Monitor found entering the newsweekly space broadened its audience.

Editor John Yemma says, "The Monitor had the DNA to make an excellent news magazine - an international focus, a humanitarian approach, and an interest to look beyond political and economic issues to see how they impact people."

He notes the Monitor's website - with SEO strategies so its stories can rank high at news aggregation sites - enables staff to still cover breaking news.

"With the weekly, we're more likely to have step-back stories," he adds. "We recently did a feature following the Chilean earthquake on how California experts went to Chile to try and learn things that could apply to the state."

Riptide Communications founder David Lerner says PR pros must adapt as more print outlets follow a less-is-more path, moving daily coverage online and using print more for analyses.

"There are plenty of new online daily outlets that focus on breaking news," he notes. "While there may not be as many bastions of print media where you can consistently get coverage, the journalists are out there, so it's still about finding the right reporters for your stories and clients."

Key facts:

1 The Christian Science Monitor's circulation has grown from 43,000 as a daily to 77,000 as a print weekly, while its page views more than doubled over the past year to 13 million monthly

2 About eight US papers have abandoned some or all of their daily print editions or weekday delivery service in favor of online, including the Ann Arbor News and Seattle Post-Intelligencer

3 Along with The St. Petersburg Times (FL), The Christian Science Monitor was one of only two major nonprofit daily US papers until its decision to go weekly last year

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