October 3, 2010

National newspapers to cover campus in pilot program

Three major newspapers—The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and USA Today—will be available to the University community at no charge for a month starting, October 18 in a new Student Government (SG) pilot initiative.

The newspapers will be available at the Reynolds Club, Bartlett Dining Commons, the Harris School of Public Policy Studies, and Cobb Hall, though SG is still exploring other locations on campus. Each location will have around 250 newspapers.

Formally called the Collegiate Readership Program, the national initiative aims to put newspapers in the hands of college students to help “create a community of awareness” and “prepare students to live and work in a global society,” according to a program overview by USA Today, published online.

SG first contacted Gannett Publishing, the company in charge of the initiative, over the summer to discuss bringing the program to the University of Chicago. Over 500 campuses have replicated the model since its inception in 1997.

“SG wants to give the student body the opportunity to easily get informed, and we believe we have the partnerships to make it happen,” fourth-year and SG president Greg Nance said. “We think that the program is very in-line with our priorities.”

SG will gauge student interest in the program with surveys before it begins and after the pilot period ends on November 12. The results will inform a further plan of action, potentially to expand the duration of the Collegiate Readership Program.

The program was originally scheduled to begin October 4, but the start date was pushed back to secure delivery and receive final approval from facilities to unveil on campus. “It was an easy decision that would benefit the student body at no cost,” Nance said. “It’s very easy to get caught up, but we believe this will further expose the student body to its surroundings.”