Testing the value of newspapers

Kaeli Shanley reads paper

Kaeli Shanley, an SOU freshman, picks up a copy of the New York Times in the Hannon Library on campus. Photo by Emily Albertson/The Siskiyou

In a partnership with USA Today, Southern Oregon University began a newspaper readership pilot program May 9.

Through this four-week program, copies of The New York Times, USA Today and the Medford Mail Tribune will be made available at various locations across campus. A similar program was to be implemented two years ago, but funding issues caused a discontinuation.

The newspapers will be available for the rest of the year, and representative from USA Today will be on campus conducting surveys to gauge the effectiveness of the program.

This data will be presented to ASSOU and SOU Administration in mid to late June which will be used to determine whether or not the university will implement the full program in the fall.

“We are launching this initiative to broaden students’ awareness of current issues through newspaper readership and to help students become more informed and engaged citizens,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Jon Eldridge in an all-campus e-mail explaining the program.

Some students on campus think the program will work in getting students to read newspapers.

“I think that it’s a great idea,” SOU Sophomore Jenny Lukan said. “It will get me to read the paper.”

“Which is not something we normally do,” Senior Kylee Rohrbacker added.

The College Readership Program began at Pennsylvania State University in 1997, and was replicated in more than 500 schools nationwide soon after.

Campuses are able to choose three newspapers available, USA Today, and then usually a local and regional paper. Because of this, each school’s College Readership Program looks a little different.

Testimonials and comments gathered from the USA Today surveys on campuses across the nation have shown that having newspapers on campus is potentially very beneficial.

The program will run until Friday, June 3. Newspapers can be found at Cascade Dining, Stevenson Union, Hannon Library, Taylor Hall and Greensprings Complex. For more information about the program, visit www.usatodaycollege.com.

Newspaper stand

USA Today, The New York Times, and the Mail Tribune became available on campus last week. Photo by Ian Hand/The Siskiyou

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