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Introducing New Format : Christian Science Monitor Will Use Color, Fewer Pages

United Press International

The Christian Science Monitor announced a new format Monday, featuring color photographs and fewer pages, two months after the editor resigned because of what she said were plans to scale back the paper and its staff.

A spokesman for the daily newspaper acknowledged that a 20% to 25% reduction in the Monitor’s publishing company staff was planned but said the cutbacks were the result of a need to reduce an overextended budget.

The exact number of layoffs and the departments to be affected were not disclosed.

“That’s still coming. Our primary concern is to get the newspaper out, get the new format out,” said Don Feldheim, assistant director of public affairs at the Christian Science Publishing Society, which publishes the newspaper.

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Result of 5 Years of Research

The paper will continue as a tabloid but will be reduced from an average 28 to 32 pages to 20 pages daily, Feldheim said.

The new format, to be unveiled in today’s editions, “continues the Monitor’s 80-year commitment to independent, insightful reporting and analysis, with an emphasis on international coverage,” said Editor Richard J. Cattani.

In a letter to be published on the front page of today’s edition, the Monitor’s editors and managers said the new format is the result of five years of research.

"(Readers) want greater selectivity in topics covered by the Monitor, more concise articles and a design and layout that helps them absorb the paper’s editorial content,” said John H. Hoagland Jr., manager of the Christian Science Publishing Society.

Feldheim said the format will feature 18 pages of news and editorials, less advertising and full-color photos and graphics. The newspaper, which first appeared in 1908, will retain its custom of printing one religious article in each edition.

Although the paper will shrink, Feldheim maintained that the reductions will be in local and classified advertising, not in editorial content.

“The Monitor doesn’t make a lot of money on advertising; it’s primarily supported by subscription. For many years advertising sales operated at a loss,” he said.

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Feldheim said the move to color and graphics--a trend popularized by USA Today--would be viewed favorably by subscribers.

Fanning Resigned Nov. 14

“We felt that the industry is moving toward color. We’ve seen it in the (Boston) Globe, in USA Today. We’ll be seeing it more in the New York Times. It’s already heavily used in Europe,” he said, adding that the newspaper had experimented with color photographs as early as the 1930s.

Katherine Fanning resigned as editor Nov. 14, citing the diversion of funds to television programs and plans to “downsize the paper and to drastically cut the staff.”

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Feldheim said staff reductions would come in every area of the Christian Science Publishing Society, which employs about 800 people. The newspaper has a staff of about 160, he said.

The newspaper’s daily domestic edition has a circulation of 170,000, Feldheim said. The weekly edition, which is distributed in more than 140 countries, has about 30,000 subscribers.

“We’re committed to running the newspaper at a deficit,” he said. “The quality is such (that) it doesn’t have a subscriber base large enough to support it, but we are committed to maintaining the quality.”


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