Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Christian Science Monitor Going Out of Print

and totally online...

From the NY Times:

Christian Science Paper to End Daily Print Edition

After a century of continuous publication, The Christian Science Monitor will abandon its weekday print edition and appear online only, its publisher announced Tuesday. The cost-cutting measure makes The Monitor the first national newspaper to largely give up on print.

The paper is currently published Monday through Friday, and will move to online only in April, although it will also introduce a weekend magazine. John Yemma, The Monitor’s editor, said that moving to a Web focus will mean it can keep its eight foreign bureaus open.

“We have the luxury — the opportunity — of making a leap that most newspapers will have to make in the next five years,” Mr. Yemma said.

Mr. Yemma said that print did bring in money at The Monitor, but most of that was from subscriptions, not advertising. Subscriptions account for about $9 million of The Monitor’s revenue, while print advertising makes up less than $1 million. Web revenue is about $1.3 million, he said. He is projecting that circulation revenue will drop, but he expects the magazine format will appeal to print advertisers. He is planning cuts, too. Mr. Yemma said he was planning some layoffs on both the 100-person editorial side and the 30-person business side. “I’m not sure the same number of people will be needed,” he said, but “there’s certainly nothing like a draconian cut coming.”

Under the new system, reporters will be expected to file stories to the Web and update them a few times a day, and write longer pieces for the weekend magazine.

Mr. Yemma said he hoped to establish as an essential place for international news. The site now gets about three million page views a month, according to comScore, and Mr. Yemma said he wanted to increase that to 20 million to 30 million a month in the next five years. Even if he can fill the site only with remnant, cheap ads, he said, if visits grow as he is projecting, “that’s a sustainable model.”

The magazine, which will have an international focus, is meant to satisfy readers who are attached to print, Mr. Yemma said, but he said he did not expect it to be hugely profitable.
I give them points for taking the seeing the future and facing it head on. I am certain that their success or failure will be major factor in how fast other papers and magazines make the transition.