What is The Christian Science Monitor?
The Christian Science Monitor is an independent international news organization.
We want to help you to see news events as starting points for constructive conversations. We seek to cut through the froth of the political spin cycle to underlying truths and values. We want to be so focused on progress that together we can provide a credible and constructive counter-narrative to the hopelessness-, anger-, and fear-inducing brand of discourse that is so pervasive in the news.
We’re committed to the following three things:
- We will challenge conventional thinking. As forces from politics to social media try to break us into competing tribes—political, racial, or economic – together we’ll rethink the question “Who is my neighbor?”
- We will listen to you. We need you to hold us accountable – to keep us honest and grounded. To inspire us with what inspires you. Together, we can build a community of people who ask more from news.
- We will change how you see news. News must be accurate and trustworthy, but facts alone can miss the whole story—the story of us. We are much better than much of today’s news portrays us to be. We will have the courage to look into both the best and the worst in us – and not to blame, but to demand better.
The Monitor's global approach is reflected in how founder Mary Baker Eddy described its object as "To injure no man, but to bless all mankind." Our aim is to embrace the human family, shedding light with the conviction that understanding the world's problems and possibilities moves us toward solutions.
This approach has served our readers and story subjects well over the years, winning us seven Pulitzer Prizes and more than a dozen Overseas Press Club awards.
We are an independent voice, devoid of the corporate allegiances and pressures that critics say too often skew today's media. We seek to give our readers the information they need to come to their own constructive conclusions. Since 1908, we have been published as a public service by The First Church of Christ, Scientist. For more information, see our FAQ section below.
1. Is the Monitor a religious publication?
The Monitor has built a reputation in the journalism world over the past century for the integrity, credibility and fair-mindedness of its reporting. It is produced for anyone who cares about the progress of the human endeavor around the world and seeks news reported with compassion, intelligence, and an essentially constructive lens. For many, that caring has religious roots. For many, it does not. The Monitor has always embraced both audiences.
The Monitor is owned by a church – The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston – whose founder was concerned with both the state of the world and the quality of available news. Each weekday, the Monitor produces one, clearly labeled religious article offering spiritual insight often related to the news.
2. Why does the Christian Science church own a news organization?
One answer might be found in a story the Monitor’s Washington bureau chief, David Cook, related in a talk several years ago:
"Consider this case. It is 1907. An elderly New England woman finds herself being targeted by Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World. She is 86 years old and holds some unconventional religious beliefs that she expounds in a book, 'Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.' The book becomes a bestseller, making her wealthy and a well-known public figure.
"The New York World decides she is incapable of managing her own affairs and persuades some of her friends and her two sons to sue for control of her estate. Although Boston and New Hampshire newspapers and major wire services interview this woman and find her competent, the New York World is unrelenting. The lady in question finally is taken to court where the case against her is dropped.
"Given her experience with the press, it is not all that surprising that she sets as the Monitor’s goal 'to injure no man, but to bless all mankind.' In one of life’s little ironies, Joseph Pulitzer went on to endow the Pulitzer prizes for journalistic excellence.
"And Mrs. Eddy's newspaper has gone on to win seven Pulitzer Prizes so far, the latest in 2002 for editorial cartooning.
"Mrs. Eddy had been thinking about a newspaper for a long time before 1907. Way back in 1883 she wrote: 'Looking over the newspapers of the day, one naturally reflects that it is dangerous to live, so loaded with disease seems the very air. These descriptions carry fears to many minds, to be depicted in some future time upon the body. A periodical of our own will counteract to some extent this public nuisance; for through our paper we shall be able to reach many homes with healing, purifying thought.'"
3. Does the Monitor have an agenda?
We are not about promoting any specific set of policies, actions or ideologies. The founder of the Monitor was convinced that what reaches and affects thought ultimately shapes experiences and moves our world forward. News, therefore, should be thought-provoking, trustworthy, and engaging. We seek to give our readers the information and multiple perspectives they need in order to develop their own constructive conclusions.
"The fundamentally – but not exclusively – Christian aspect of the Monitor’s mission lies in caring about others. The Monitor assumes its readers are people who care, who want to care, regardless of their religious or political mindset. Nothing is more fundamental to Christianity than love, than caring. One of the two great commandments Jesus cited is to love our neighbors as ourselves. And he made clear that our neighbors were not just the people living next door. Our neighbors are everyone who crosses our path or enters our consciousness."
4. If the Monitor's news is secular, why is "Christian Science" in its name?
It's about honesty and purpose. We do not hide the fact that the Christian Science church has stood behind this publication for more than 100 years. While some might argue that not having those words would give it wider appeal, to remove them would mislead people about the organization that supports the Monitor. Eddy knew this from the outset. She insisted, against strong opposition from some of her advisers and church officers, that the words “Christian Science” should be in the paper’s name.
5. Do church leaders determine or influence the Monitor’s editorial content?
The Board of Directors of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, has oversight over Monitor editorials and editorial cartoons, but rarely edits content. The Board selects the Monitor’s editor, whose staff chooses stories they feel are most meaningful to our readers.
6. Why doesn’t the Monitor endorse political candidates?
The Monitor’s editors believe readers should decide for themselves who is best qualified for public office. Through our extensive political coverage from Capitol Hill and in races around the country, we strive to provide all the information necessary for voters to make political decisions most appropriate for them, their communities, and the nation.
7. How would I find out more about the Monitor’s founder and Christian Science?
For more about Mary Baker Eddy, the pioneering woman who founded the Monitor, see The Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity at www.marybakereddylibrary.org.
Visit www.christianscience.com for information about Christian Science and our publisher, The First Church of Christ, Scientist. Here you can learn more about Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the premier work by Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy. You’ll also find articles, discussions, and events showing how people are using spiritual ideas in their daily lives.
Visit a Christian Science Reading Room near you. Reading Rooms are open to anyone seeking healing answers to life’s challenges. They offer a haven where visitors can read or purchase literature published by The Christian Science Publishing Society, including The Christian Science Monitor, and ask questions about Christian Science and its founder, Mary Baker Eddy.
For more information about The Christian Science Monitor, please e-mail us.
Some of the material for this FAQ was drawn from "Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Authority," by Robert Peel (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York: 1977), and "Commitment to Freedom: The Story of The Christian Science Monitor," by Erwin D. Canham (Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston: 1958).
8. Why does the Monitor seek foundation and other philanthropic support?
Groups aligned with the Monitor's mission represent a meaningful and worthwhile source of support for The Christian Science Monitor intellectually and financially, helping us grow in ways we would be unable to achieve alone. We work with new partners in the philanthropic space because they are often among the most knowledgeable organizations on some of the world's biggest problems, helping us to better understand how to best serve our readers and make an impact through our journalism. We are eager to work with new partners who are interested in the future of high quality journalism and believe in its ability to make the world a better place.
9. How and where do we disclose funding sources?
Monitor readers can identify stories supported by external funders by a disclosure at the end of any story that has received such support.
10. How do we ensure editorial independence from our partner funders?
The Monitor accepts grants to support general operations, special projects and coverage of specific topics determined by management. External supporters, grantors, donors and The Monitor itself care deeply about the editorial independence of journalism at The Christian Science Monitor. The Monitor does not permit external influence of its editorial process. All editorial decisions are made independently. Donors receive no preferential coverage and do not influence the direction or findings of our reporting. Grantors do not see stories or reports prior to publishing. The Monitor makes this known to funders in advance of commencing any formal relationship it may have with a funder. The Monitor does not accept donations from government entities, political parties, elected officials or candidates actively seeking public office, nor do we accept donations from sources that could present a conflict of interest with our work or compromise our editorial independence.