The Christian Science Monitor reports today that the daily print edition of the newspaper will be phased out by April 2009 and replaced by an online version. Although the paper will introduce a weekly print magazine, the New York Times says that the CSM is the first national newspaper to largely give up print in favor of online and email delivery of content. Both the daily version and the weekly print version will be available as a subscription and emailed in .pdf format.
The CSM release makes clear that they view this move as a necessary step towards fulfilling the newspaper's ongoing mission of "finding answers to the world's most important problems, asking the questions that matter and getting the story behind the news," according to editor John Yemma. The Christain Science Monitor is financed primarily by a subsidy from the Christian Science church. The newspaper predicts that in five years, the proposed changes will effectively reduce this subsidy by $8.4 million annually.
Because the Christain Science Monitor receives funding from the Christian Science church and other donors, it is a newspaper well-suited to experimenting with a primarily digital method of content delivery. Their financial model can support a few years of transition. Many newspapers in the USA do not have that luxury. I guess if you are particularly attached to reading the CSM on the subway in the mornings, this coming year might be a good time to consider buying an e-reading device.
I am eager to hear what our other bloggers here at Beyond Hall 8 have to say about this development.