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Wednesday, October 29, 2021

The 100-year-old Christian Science Monitor isn’t the first high-profile newspaper to abandon its printing press in favor of Web-only publication. And it’s not going to be the last:

The paper is currently published Monday through Friday, and will move to online only in April, although it will also introduce a [print] 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.

The problem is that the move to all-digital is purely a defensive move: It’s the only way to cost-cut without eviscerating the actual newsgathering operation. That’s a good thing, but it eliminates the industry’s more effective advertising channel. Simply put, print advertising works better than Web advertising. Online ads are profitable for broad-based syndicates like Google AdSense, but far less so for publishers running anything bigger than one-person shops. That might change by necessity: As the print medium fades, advertisers that want more targeted exposure than AdSense’s keyword-based stew but can’t swing television/radio might have no better option than geographically-based newspaper sites, and rates could rise accordingly.

What’s the longer-term solution? Non-profit journalism, which is the Monitor’s business model, might become the default for the Web-only news business over the next decade. That would run parallel with news operations that are part of larger media companies with broadcast components, which can still offer a robust advertising platform.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/29/2008 10:06:15 AM
Category: Business, Internet, Publishing
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  1. Today, the CEO of Duo Consulting, one of the partners chosen by the Monitor to implement their on-line edition, posted an editorial on the project on the company blog. I thought you might find it interesting.

    Comment by dianew — 12/16/2008 @ 07:51:15 AM

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