Running Commentary

Your new Monitor may look and feel different, but inside you will still find the same editorial content that has made it one of the most popular benefits of APA membership. The Monitor will continue to be the most important way we communicate with our members, and we hope the new format will facilitate that.

Launched in 1970 as a 12-page newsletter, over the years the Monitor has grown steadily in scope and substance to become an important source of information on psychology, covering issues on both a national and international level. It has a reputation for being so big and comprehensive that a university Psi Chi chapter, as a gentle spoof, once offered a prize to any student who could read an entire issue.

The heart and soul of APA

I would have enjoyed having the Monitor when I was a student, but, unfortunately, it didn't exist then. The American Psychologist published occasional "notes and news," but otherwise what went on in APA was a mystery to most APA members.

Since the Monitor appeared 30 years ago, I have been a loyal fan. Everywhere I look in my home and in my office are large stacks of copies of the Monitor. I refer to them all the time. But they are yellowed and fragile, awkward to store on a bookshelf, difficult to carry in a briefcase, and hard to photocopy without a lot of cutting and pasting.

The progression of Monitor issues over the years really depicts the history of the association. When I wrote a chapter on the history of APA from 1980 to 1990 for APA's centennial publication, I used the Monitor as an important resource. I spread out all the back issues on the floor in a big room and crawled around from one to another, piecing together the history of the association. The Monitor represents the heart and soul of what goes on in APA, and it deserves to be archived. So with this improved format, we give the Monitor--and the history of APA--some of the permanence it deserves.

Thanks to the Internet, the Monitor is also becoming an important means of giving psychology away to the world. Because it is on APA's home page, thousands of additional people now read stories about psychology and the association. Each week, APA's web site receives almost 2 million 'hits,' and a significant number are people who want to read the Monitor. To give an example of the Monitor's growing impact, I have received more than 100 e-mail notes from all over the world in response to my May 1997 column about temporarily losing my sense of taste. More than two years later, I am still receiving notes from all over, the most recent from Brazil.

Linking us together

In my service as an APA treasurer, president and chief executive officer, I suppose I've written more columns for the Monitor than anyone else in its history--about 130 thus far. The name "Running Commentary" refers both to the flow of events in Central Office and to my favorite sport and recreation. Over the past 10 years, I have used my column to discuss issues and developments that I thought members would want to know about, answer the kinds of questions members ask me every day, and to share some of my personal experiences and reflections. I also like to interject a bit of history from time to time to put current issues in perspective.

Looking back at the columns I have written over the years, it strikes me that the topics addressed reflect the ebb and flow of association life. Some describe the day-to-day operations of the association, such as how the Board of Directors and Council of Representatives work. Others address the challenges we have faced together such as rebuilding our financial strength, finding ways for scientists and practitioners to work together and developing new marketplace strategies. Through periods of crisis, as well as times of celebration, my column has given me a welcome opportunity to communicate directly with APA members.

The Monitor has long been an important resource to me and to a majority of APA members. It arrives month after month, bringing news and linking us together as a psychological community. The Monitor has been given a new look for a new century, but it will always be the voice of APA.