>Market Study: Christian Science MonitorPosted: February 5, 2008
>Ohhh, now I get it.
That tends to be my reaction when I really study a market in depth. For example, I have been e-mailing columns to the Christian Science Monitor’s Home Forum page for years with no success. But did I ever really sit down and read the paper? Nope. Glanced through it at the library, but that clearly wasn’t enough.
I probably would have gone on that way if I hadn’t received an offer for a “professional discount” on a three-month subscription. It was only $13. I decided to go for it.
And you know what? Even though they have some of the best online writers’ guidelines I have ever seen–www.csmonitor.com/aboutus/guidelines.html, I’m learning a lot more about the Christian Science Monitor by reading it.
The CSM comes out every weekday, one compact section filled with national and international news, pictures, opinion pieces, features, and essays. The writers are listed as staff writer, correspondent, contributor or have no ID after their names. We freelancers fall into the last two categories.
Although the CSM is published by the Christian Science Publishing Society, it is not a religious rag promoting their beliefs. Each issue has one Christian Science piece, but the rest is non-religious.
The guidelines are detailed, so I’m not going to repeat them, but here are a few highlights:
* Basic pay is $200 to $250, although some pieces pay much more and some of the shorter items pay a bit less.
* They strongly prefer e-mail submissions over submissions by mail.
* The writing is formal, well-researched, balanced and thoughtful.
* Work by new writers is taken “on spec,” meaning they don’t guarantee they’ll buy it, but if they do assign a piece and you submit it on time, they will pay for it, whether it runs or not.
* Home Forum pieces are personal essays from 300 to 900 words. They also accept short poems, and on Tuesdays they feature work by children.
* They do not accept reprints, simultaneous submissions or telephone queries.
Reading the paper has given me much more insight into what they want. It’s difficult for me to put into words, so let me give you some examples: a Home Forum piece about the writer’s frustration with his car’s GPS system because the voice is telling him things he knows are incorrect; a feature on how resumes have changed since we baby boomers started working; an article about an Afghan woman teaching her countrywomen how to run businesses, and a fascinating back-page feature about African safaris on foot. Imagine being face to face with a lion without the protection of a vehicle?
I could go on and on. These articles are so much more interesting than what I read elsewhere. Publishing here would offer the elegance of a literary magazine with the pay and exposure of an international daily newspaper. If you haven’t considered the Christian Science Monitor as a market for your freelance newspaper articles, at least peruse the guidelines. Much of the paper’s content is published on its website www.csmonitor.com. Read and be inspired.