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My long love affair with Monitor journalism

From correspondent, to editor, to columnist, I've seen radical changes in journalism and the world.

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This is my last regularly scheduled column for The Christian Science Monitor. [See editor's note at the end of this column.]

The column began 27 years ago, although my association – or perhaps it should more properly be called my love affair – with the Monitor goes back much further.

A lot has changed in the world, and a lot has changed with journalism, during that span of time. This is an occasion for retrospection.

I was hired by Erwin Canham, one of the most awe-inspiring editors of his day. After a spell in the Boston office, I was the Monitor’s Africa correspondent for six years, then Far Eastern correspondent for six years, and eventually I became editor of the paper for nine years.

I left to run some small newspapers of my own, then was recruited for media-related roles in the Reagan administration. When the last one, at the State Department, ended, The Washington Post was talking to me about writing a column for them. But Katherine Fanning, then the Monitor’s editor, flew down to Washington with Richard Nenneman, the managing editor, to persuade me to write a column for the Monitor. I needed little persuasion.

As a schoolboy in Britain, I witnessed the end of Nazi fascism in Europe; as a journalist, the waning of communism and the emerging conflict with Islamist extremism. A lot of misery is behind us, but wars and man’s inhumanity to man still abound. However, the most dramatic movement of our times is the march of freedom through Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and now the Arab world. 

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