NY Times Readership program decrease on campus

Circulation of the NewYork Times has dropped substantially on campus compared to recent years. This drop reflects the financial setback of various academic departments and Student Government Inc., who fund the NY Times Readership Program.

S.G.I has been collaborating with representatives from the New York Times since funds have been cut, and are working on other alternatives for the next academic year if the University is financially unable to fund the program.

Copies of the New York Times can be found at various Kiosks around campus, in the D’Angelo Center and in Marillac.

Some students say they rely heavily on the free issue of the New York Times to complete homework assignments, and keep up to date with current events.

Senior Shanice Duckett reads the New York Times daily.

“Many of my professors stress the importance of reading it daily,” she said. “I use the New York Times app. on my iPhone and it’s convenient, but I still prefer the print version.”

USA Today and the New York Times created the Collegiate Readership Program. Their mission statement on USA Today’swebsite is “to enhance the learning environment on campus by exposing students to the news in their living, working and community spaces.”

One of their main goals in implementing this program is “to provide students with access to newspapers, share them with their peers, and create a community of awareness,” according to the USA Today’s website.

St. John’s is not the only university suffering from lack of funding for the College Readership Program. Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown University eliminated the program all together in 2009, according to articles from their school’s websites.

Nick Hirshon, a reporter for the Daily News and adjunct professor at St. John’s does not think the program is a waste of money.

“Sure, students have access to news on their Blackberries and iPhones, but are they actually reading it? Students who might never read the Times, or any news at all, may pick up a copy if they pass the stacks in Marillac,” he said.

Hirshorn utilizes the readership program on a regular basis.

“When I was a student here, I remember grabbing copies before my 7:35 classes on Tuesdays/Thursdays,” he said. “On days when I came to campus around 9, all the copies were gone. It was that popular.”

Senior Lee Champagne accesses the New York Times from the internet, but prefers the free issue of the paper.

“I’m old fashioned and traditional, I like the print copy,” he said. “Students can still read the Times online of course, but it’s not the same.”

Hirshon spoke about the value of having newspapers accessible to all students.

“I think many students who otherwise might never read newspapers picked up the Timesto fill in a few minutes before or after a class,” he said. “Even during that limited time, they probably picked up a lot of knowledge. For some, it might be the only time during the day that they read, hear or watch news.”

Senior Megan McEntee said the lack of issues on campus has not affected her because she uses the online version of the newspaper to keep up with the news for her classes.

“My professors frequently refer to articles in the New York Times during class lectures,” she said.

Sophomore Julian Marin uses the free paper on campus to stay up to date.

“I read the newspaper everyday to stay informed of current events, the free issue is useful,” she said.

Hirshorn stressed the importance newspapers have on news consumption.

“It turns the casual news consumer into a more active one,” he said. “Maybe they grow hungrier for news and start purchasing other newspapers or watching CNN, and that continues after they graduate.

“That’s a very happy thought for educators and journalists, especially at a time when newspapers are fighting for their lives,” he said.