New York Times given exclusive deal in College Readership program

St. John’s University has recently decided to modify their pre-existing College Readership program, which last year included both USA Today and the New York Times. According to Cindy Grossman, the University will now exclusively distribute 450 free copies of the New York Times in four locations on campus,
including Montgoris Dining Hall, St. Augustine Hall Library, and Marillac Terrace.

“Last year, USA Today administered the program,” Grossman explained. “But in the past year, the New York Times developed their own program and we decided to go with just the Times this year.”

Grossman added that the decision to exclusively carry the New York Times was driven by its academic value and the chance to develop a more intimate relationship between the University and one of the world’s most well known newspaper.

“Faculty tell us all the time that its beneficial that the students have access to their papers and we have heard that people are encouraged that their students are reading the Times,” Grossman said.

The program, which costs the University 35 cents per copy (as opposed to the newsstand price of one dollar) or a little over $20,000 annually, is financially supported by The TORCH, Student Government, Inc., the office of Student Affairs, the Provost’s office, and the library.

Grossman explained that, in addition to the distribution of the New York Times, the Times will provide one guest lecturer from its staff every academic year, with the speaker’s appearance fee paid by the newspaper.

While this year’s New York Times lecturer is currently undecided, the University has agreed to separately invite New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff to speak at St. John’s on Oct. 25.

“Last spring, they brought in Jason DeParle,” Grossman said, “and this spring we’re already talking about bringing in another top-level writer. In the fall we made a commitment to bring in Nicholas Kristoff on Oct. 25. That’s not paid for by
the Times, but the Times is supporting it with refreshments and advertisements.”

According to Grossman, the University found DeParle to be an attractive guest lecturer because of his interest in social justice, particularly with helping the poor. The pursuit of future guest lecturers from the Times will keep in mind the University’s Vincentian mission.

“When we brought in Jason DeParle, we particularly brought him in because of his engagement with social justice issues,” Grossman said. “He is very mission-related with us. And whoever we get in the spring I hope will have that same sense of social justice, mission related.”