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A Web-Only Success Story…Sort Of

christian-science-monitor.jpgWhat happens when a newspaper goes online-only? The Christian Science Monitor, which stopped its daily print edition March 25, 2009, says lots of good things.

Traffic is up by more than 60%, revenue for the daily e-mail newsletter is up, and they are on budget, editor John Yemma told Joe Strupp at Media Matters.

But, there’s always a but.

First: The CSM is not truly a Web-only operation: the organization is putting out a weekly print edition (which has seen 79% circulation growth since its launch).

Second: online ad revenues are about half what they were projected to be. The company forecasted 12 months of online revs would total $870,000, but in actuality it’s only brought in $490,000.

Third: The First Church of Christ, Scientist, is pumping $20 million a year into the paper, or nearly five times what the paper could generate on its own.

The paper also extended a buyout offer to its 85 editorial employees, and four accepted.

But (again, always a but)–there’s still 81 newsmen and women working at this paper, which is a heck of a lot more than the number of people at any other online-only outfit we can think of.

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