The prestigious International Journal of Communication has selected a scholarly article written by SMPA Professor Nikki Usher for publication in its latest volume. The piece, “Going Web-First at The Christian Science Monitor: A Three-Part Study of Change,” documents her field study of The Christian Science Monitor’s transition to a web-only publication after the discontinuation of its century-old print daily in 2009.
According to the findings of the study, the conversion to an online-only publication caused unwelcome consequences for journalists at The Monitor, who felt news production had become unduly focused on internet traffic and economic viability at the expense of journalistic quality.
“Journalist felt that deep, analytical stories were pushed aside in favor of quick-hit traffic pleasers and those that responded to breaking news. The lingering question for The Monitor, then, seems to be how to protect its journalistic values in a 24/7 Web world,” writes Usher.
Usher concludes that the eventual web traffic successes of The Monitor—25 million page views per month—came at the expense of its identity as a “thoughtful” paper, a phenomenon that can serve as a cautionary tale for other publications considering the move to online-only journalism.
Read Usher's complete article online here.