New York Times returns to campus

Kelsey Ruane

After a brief discontinuation of the University’s subscription to the New York Times as part of the Collegiate Readership Program, it is again available on campus in a reduced quantity.

“We decided to drop the Times over the summer,” said Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Craig Wheeland. “It was simply a budget issue. We were trying to save some money in the program.”

After speaking with representatives of the Times and discussing some different options, the Office of Academic Affairs authorized the return of the newspaper back during the week of Aug. 24. It became available again on campus early last week.

The Collegiate Readership Program was originally a part of Student Life and shifted to the Office of Academic Affairs seven years ago, according to Wheeland. Through the program, the Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today and the New York Times are available for free on campus.

The University pays the newspaper companies for every newspaper picked up daily. The Collegiate Readership Program includes a recycling service for the copies left at the end of the day. The number of copies left over helps determine how many should be delivered to each location.

“The New York Times is the most expensive and one of the least read,” Wheeland said.

“I don’t know that all students would pick up the New York Times for entertainment or fun,” said Bryan Crable, department chairperson of the Department of Communication. “It’s not a paper designed to be light entertainment, it’s designed to provide the highest quality information and analysis. This just means that students need some encouragement in order to start reading it – not that we need to eliminate the paper as an option.”

Of the newspapers offered through the Collegiate Readership Program, USA Today is the most popular among students, according to Wheeland.

As a result, more copies of USA Today are generally delivered to campus than copies of the New York Times or Philadelphia Inquirer.

From Aug. 24 to 28, 171 out of 250 copies of USA Today were picked up in Dougherty Hall, compared with 145 out of 150 copies of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The number of papers picked up varies from week to week and depends on the location.

“We did reduce the number of papers available,” Wheeland said, adding that only rarely is every copy taken, so students who want a paper can usually find one.

According to Wheeland, in the fall of 2008, an average of 480 papers were picked up daily from the Collegiate Readership Program racks. The papers are primarily delivered through residence halls. On South Campus, they are available in Good Counsel, Katharine, Stanford and Donahue halls.

The other residence halls with Collegiate Readership Program papers are Fedigan, Sheehan, Sullivan and St. Mary’s halls. They are also offered in Bartley, Connelly and Dougherty.

“We’ve heard that many universities have cut out their readership programs,” Wheeland said.

The Collegiate Readership Program is one of three readership programs offered on campus. The Villanova School of Business offers the Wall Street Journal. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers The Financial Times.

“The Collegiate Readership Program is an important part of the educational environment we want students to experience,” Wheeland said. “We certainly plan to continue it.”