The Christian Science Monitor's Bold (And Successful) Experiments
from the doing-it-right dept
Reader cram points us to a paidContent post by John Yemma, the editor of The Christian Science Monitor, in which he makes a lot of great points about digital strategies for news publishing.
A year ago, we ceased publishing the daily, 100-year-old Christian Science Monitor newspaper and launched a weekly magazine to complement our website, on which we doubled down by reorienting our newsroom to be web-first. Our web traffic climbed from 6 million page views last April to 13 million in February. Our print circulation rose from 43,000 to 77,000 in the same period.
This is the sort of bold move that might be the last hope for some struggling publications, and it's also an example of CwF+RtB. Magazines still hold value to readers as an attractive physical item in a way that newspapers don't—by connecting with fans online and then giving them a better reason to buy the print product, CSM increased the readership of both.
Those who defend newspapers out of nostalgia often cite the relaxing Sunday newspaper as a reason the medium should survive, but what they fail to realize is that there's no reason that experience has to die along with the cheap daily rag. If there is genuine demand for it, publishers will supply it, and smart publications will shift their focus to improve that aspect of their product, just like CSM did.
Yemma also warns against putting too much stock in "digital razzle dazzle": multimedia for multimedia's sake, deployed with little or no thought given to its purpose or effectiveness. The editorial and design aspects of print news have been evolving for decades; digital news must go back to first premises.
The multimedia debate needs a new question: How are we using technology to create a more relevant product? We're not going to "save" media by out-featuring each other. We can and will re-cement media by using the technology to deliver the experience consumers want most: intelligent, meaningful news that's accessible where they are in the moment.
Hopefully it isn't too blasphemous to say: amen to that!