Speaking of News: Why I Love the Christian Science Monitor

First, you have to know: I’m not a Christian Scientist. There are probably others who are LESS of a Christian Scientist than I am, but…not too many.

But if you’ve never looked at one, don’t let the Christian Science Monitor’s name scare you away. This is one SUPERB magazine. I know I described in my last post how I use my husband as my news source, but that’s for TV. My daily breakfast (when I’m not at the bakery) = cereal + Monitor.

It used to be a 5 days-a-week newspaper, which I received as a Christmas gift over a decade ago from my parents. I was soon driving myself crazy trying to keep up with the daily waves of great writing that washed into my mailbox, and usually ended up reading the last pages of each issue–the op-eds and book reviews, plus the PMADs (I’ll get to those in a minute)–on weekends.

Problem was, EVERY ARTICLE gave me something to chew on. First of all, the Monitor has an enormous staff, so their writers are all over the globe, deeply embedded into the population of some pretty out-of-the-way places. So you get REAL stories about Mali, about Bolivia, about Uzbekistan. (If Herman Cain had read the Monitor, he would have remembered much more than who was the President of “Uzbeki-bekistan.”)

I may be a little shaky on Justin Bieber’s latest exploits, but even without my regular dose of NPR or The Mate’s updates from Al Jazeera and CNN, I can tell you what’s going on in South Sudan.

A few years ago, the Monitor switched to a weekly focus. Thank goodness! Even now, though, if I travel, I get behind, but I can NOT throw away an unread issue. I just work through ’em slowly, like good novels.


The main reason for this savoring has to do with the penultimate page, which is always the PMAD: People Making a Difference.

When my heart is sick of terrorist bombings and imperialistic annexations, I flip to the back of any issue and read about a woman who lost her brother but finds peace helping kids in the Philippines. Or an Indian woman who recruits men in the fight against domestic violence against women. Or a former gang-member tutoring inmates in reading. Or a guy adopting a houseful of Nepalese orphans. Or someone living on a remote beach to protect endangered sea turtle nesting sites. Or…

The stories go on and on. Good news in a troubled world. They all include resources to get in touch, or to contribute if the story has touched you. They all leave me feeling heartened, and renewed in my own commitment to continue making my own small difference in the world.

What if…hold up, here’s the craziest thought: what if ALL news media included a bit of that, in between the important pieces on terrorist bombings and Justin Bieber?

I know. I know. But a girl can dream.

And I can collect my own PMADs…from you. Tell me (briefly) about an unsung hero that you know about. Who is someone in your own life who is Making a Difference?

2 thoughts on “Speaking of News: Why I Love the Christian Science Monitor

  1. What a good reminder. I didn’t know the Christian Science Monitor had gone weekly. It sounds like a great addition to Toasted O’s, sliced strawberries (depending on the time of year of course!) and a morning cup of coffee. As for who’s making a difference in the world, it’s people like my sister who nurtures fruit trees and a vegetable garden in the middle of a city, works for well informed and gutty candidates at election time, and applies every other kind of lever she can think of to convince people to slow climate change and protect grandchildren–hers and all others– yet to be born.

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