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
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
In fact, its stories are often picked up by major dailies through its
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
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
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
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
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
The Christian Science Monitor
Address: 1 Norway Street
Boston, MA 02115
Tel: (617) 450-7034
Fax/newsroom: (617) 450-7575
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