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My long love affair with Monitor journalism

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Since 1908, national and international affairs have been chronicled, interpreted, and appraised by this remarkable newspaper launched by a remarkable woman, Mary Baker Eddy.

Founder of the Christian Science Church, she wrote that the Monitor’s purpose was “to injure no man, but to bless all mankind.” That does not mean seeing the world through rose-tinted glasses. Where there is evil, the Monitor reports it. But the Monitor is intent on solutions and healing rather than despair.

Technology has transformed my profession of journalism. The printed newspaper is in eclipse and electronic delivery of news is instant and pervasive. The circulation of the daily print Monitor, once reaching more than 200,000 subscribers, has dwindled, and it is now a weekly magazine. But in March, the Monitor, with its website, CSMonitor.com, reached an audience of 10.3 million via the Internet.

We are swamped today with an avalanche of electronic and social media that can be positive or negative. Virtually anybody can get on the Internet chronicling truth or peddling fiction. The rush to immediacy can cause embarrassing mistakes. A famous football coach is declared dead before he is. A congresswoman is shot and declared dead when she is not. A popular governor is reported about to be indicted when she is not.

In the Atlantic magazine, author Nicholas Carr bemoaned his new addiction to the Net amusingly: “What the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a jet ski.”

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