The Christian Science Monitor reminded their audience of their mission during the coronavirus outbreak by asking for feedback in a simple Tweet that read: “The Christian Science Monitor is committed to covering the coronavirus pandemic. How are we doing? What coverage do you need right now? Let us know.”
When a reader wrote a thoughtful comment on a Christian Science Monitor Facebook post, the reporter of the article directly responded to the reader’s question, thanked them for reaching out and then provided additional context and information. Publicly responding to comments can remind readers of your commitment to your local community and by responding publicly you are not just answering that one person, you are also answering anyone else who sees the response.
One way to combat the fake news culture is to report on it. When new research explained how false information spreads and why people share it, the Christian Science Monitor drew attention to that research. It can be empowering and effective to use the words fake news while redefining them.
To define their mission as a news organization the Christian Science Monitor wrote an editorial to their readers. They discussed how their focus is to move off the left-right political axis and focus their reporting on the ideas behind the news. They said some readers get this, some seem "too deep" in the polarized world and others point to ways the news organization can do this better. In addition to the editorial, they also asked for feedback on social media.
To define their mission as a news organization the Christian Science Monitor wrote an editorial to their readers. They discussed how their focus is to move off the left-right political axis and focus their reporting on the ideas behind the news. They said some readers get this, some seem “too deep” in the polarized world and others point to ways the news organization can do this better. In addition to the editorial, they also asked for feedback on social media.
After a survey about low trust in media was published, the Christian Science Monitor asked their Facebook followers if they trusted the news organization. Editors said the comments received were "very constructive." They said they received much more praise than criticism and the criticism received was constructive. The news organization made sure to monitor and respond to comments and said they were surprised how enthusiastic people were about providing feedback.
After a survey about low trust in media was published, the Christian Science Monitor asked their Facebook followers if they trusted the news organization. Editors said the comments received were “very constructive.” They said they received much more praise than criticism and the criticism received was constructive. The news organization made sure to monitor and respond to comments and said they were surprised how enthusiastic people were about providing feedback.
While working on a story about the Parkland school shooting, a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor decided to share how she was able to get in touch with the students she quoted in her article. She said it felt "totally natural" to include this information and helped her explain her reporting process to her users.
While working on a story about the Parkland school shooting, A reporter for the Christian Science Monitor decided to share how she was able to get in touch with the students she quoted in her article. She said it felt “totally natural” to include this information and helped her explain her reporting process to her users.
A lot of users wonder why certain stories make it into the news cycle while others do not. The Christian Science Monitor decided to add an editor's note to one of their newsletters explaining why a story was being covered. They shared how the story idea became a "talker" during the editorial meeting and that impacted their decision to include the story in their news coverage.
A lot of users wonder why certain stories make it into the news cycle while others do not. The Christian Science Monitor decided to add an editor’s note to one of their newsletters explaining why a story was being covered. They shared how the story idea became a “talker” during the editorial meeting and that impacted their decision to include the story in their news coverage.
While searching for a photo to depict the country of Africa, the Christian Science Monitor news team realized it did not have appropriate photos to include in the story. They decided to talk openly with their users about what they felt was a lack of photos options. In the post, they also discussed how they were going to obtain photos to better depict the country in a fair and appropriate way.
While searching for a photo to depict the country of Africa, the Christian Science Monitor news team realized it did not have appropriate photos to include in the story. They decided to talk openly with their users about what they felt was a lack of photos options. In the post, they also discussed how they were going to obtain photos to better depict the country in a fair and appropriate way.
When a reporter from the Christian Science Monitor visited South Korea for the Olympics, she wrote a touching personal observation. The news organization shared it in a newsletter, along with details on the reporter's background that put her thoughts in context.
When a reporter from the Christian Science Monitor visited South Korea for the Olympics, she wrote a touching personal observation. The news organization shared it in a newsletter, along with details on the reporter’s background that put her thoughts in context.
Screenshot of the Christian Science Monitor Instagram Story where they interview their global affairs correspondent.
The Christian Science Monitor sat down with their global affairs correspondent to answer questions ranging from fun (What is your favorite meal?) to powerful (What makes your reporting distinct?). The answers were posted to Instagram Stories which gave them room to experiment and helped them reach a younger audience.
Screenshot from The Christian Science Monitor's Facebook page, explaining why the organization was implementing a paywall and inviting comments.
When instituting a paywall or changing what users will be able to access for free, it’s important to be upfront, honest and respond to criticism. That’s exactly what the Christian Science Monitor did when they limited the number of articles non-subscribers could read for free on their website. In their post, they talked about why this was happening and the emphasized the value of their reporting. Most importantly, they took time to respond to comments and questions from users. After this announcement, the news organization reported an increase in subscriptions.
Screenshot from The Christian Science Monitor's Facebook page, explaining why a frequent commenter was banned.
The Christian Science Monitor used the negative behavior of a frequent Facebook group commenter as an opportunity to reinforce the values of the group and the news organization. They also asked the community to help them maintain civil dialogue and asked group members what they wanted to get out of the group. The responses validated the value of their Facebook group for the newsroom and also reminded the journalists that sometimes Facebook users need to be reminded about community rules and guidelines.
Screenshot from the Christian Science Monitor page on Facebook.
Planning a big story? Let readers chime in with the questions they’d like to see answered. The Christian Science Monitor saw “validation that our audience likes to be a part of the process” when they introduced their interns, shared their own goals for covering an upcoming political event, and prompted readers to share what they’d ask. They also set clear expectations of how reader questions would be used.