N.Y. Times may leave dining halls

For avid news junkies at Yale, leafing through The New York Times while eating at the dining hall might eventually be a thing of the past.

In response to a request from the President’s Office to gauge student interest in reading the print version of the Times on campus, Yale College Council representatives polled themselves in an informal meeting Sunday and found that less than half the Council reads the paper regularly, YCC President Jon Wu said. The Council’s board in turn came up with a list of possible ideas about how the President’s Office — which pays for the newspapers — could cut costs by reducing subscriptions. Interviews with 50 students corroborated the YCC’s findings, indicating that student interest in the print version of the New York Times remains moderate at best.

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The YCC vote showed that 10 out of the 28 representatives present at the meeting read The New York Times in print at least three times a week, Wu said.

While the vote surveyed only a small fraction of the student body, YCC Vice President Abigail Cheung ’11 said the Council was pressed for time since it received the request from the President’s Office on Friday and had to conduct the survey over the weekend.

“Students are elected to YCC as representatives of their colleges and of the student body,” Cheung added.

As a result of the vote, Wu said the YCC came up with three informal recommendations, aimed at cutting the University’s print subscriptions. First, the YCC suggested that the President’s Office cut the number of papers to one-third of its current number delivered each weekday. If this recommendation is rejected, the second solution is to deliver the Times only on Sunday, which Wu said would be a good idea in part because the News does not publish on Sundays. The last solution, which Wu called the “worst-case scenario,” would be for the University to provide the student body with online subscriptions to the Times when the paper begins charging a fee for its Web content in January 2011. Wu said the YCC has not yet considered the logistics of this last option.

“I’m assuming, at the very least, [University President Richard] Levin will find a way to provide online subscriptions,” Wu said.

Nina Glickson, assistant to the president, confirmed to the News that the President’s Office is evaluating Yale’s subscriptions to The New York Times but did not respond to further requests for comment. Levin, who is in Switzerland this week, was not available for comment.

Of 50 students interviewed by the News, only six said they read print copies of The New York Times provided in dining halls at least three times a week, while 19 said they read it regularly but fewer than three times a week. Twenty-five students said they do not read the Times regularly.

In addition, 33 of the 50 students interviewed said they would not be affected if The New York Times subscription were to be canceled due to budget restrictions, and three students said they would prefer to receive print subscriptions to newspapers other than The New York Times, including the New York Post and the Los Angeles Times.

While Courtney Fukuda ’12 said she would not mind losing the print subscription to the Times if Yale agreed to pay for online access for students, other students said they do not think the administration should cancel the subscription. Six students said they read The New York Times exclusively in print and would not go online to read it if print subscriptions were canceled.

“You can get it online, but it’s not the same,” Annika Lee ’10.

Several students said while they do not read The New York Times regularly, they do not like the idea of canceling the newspaper subscription altogether.

“It’d be a sign,” Julian Reid ’13 said. “They [would be] restricting our access to knowledge.”

Wu said he does not know if or when the YCC recommendations might be implemented, and that the decision is ultimately up to Levin.

Comments

  • MC 2013

    It worries me that the YCC thought self-polling the 28 of themselves was representative enough of the student body’s wishes to serve as the basis for such a major proposal. They are elected, not because their interests and beliefs most accurately reflect our own, but because we trust them to ASK US what WE want and then try and make it happen. As a student who does read the NYT print edition Yale gives us 5 days a week (and most of whose friends do, too), that trust is eroding fast.

  • FailBoat

    The “informal YDN poll” is complete garbage too. 50% of the Yale student body does not read the NYTimes 3 or more times a week in the dining halls. I wonder what percentage of the people surveyed are journalism junkies.

  • @ MC 2013

    It is not always most efficient to ask student input on every decision made. Representatives serve as a diverse cross-section of the student body and to a good extent, reflect the views of the students. The News’ own poll supports the YCC’s initial straw poll in that a significant portion of the student body does not read the print version of the Times on a regular basis. According to the News, only six out of 50 students polled read the Times more than three Times per week. Our recommendation– cut the subscription by 2/3– remains highly reasonable. However, if President Levin were to end the NY Times Subscription, we trust and would surely hope that he would reevaluate the matter after the economy has improved.
    -Jon Wu

  • Eli

    it’s not as if Yale right now is paying for a Times subscription for every student–they have already been reduced to a thing that I can only find if I get up early enough and have breakfast in the dining hall. Come lunch time, they are almost always gone. Screw any of these informal polls: if that fact doesn’t show demand, I don’t know what does.

  • TC

    I agree with #4, and I further regret Jon Wu’s comment, which is quite obviously a post hoc rationalization that, while plausible, is certainly not a good heuristic for policy-making generally. Basically, he got caught with his pants down and spouted off a ridiculous explanation that I hope is not typical YCC procedure.

    But the only thing “inefficient” about asking student input is that it takes up time that Jon apparently thinks isn’t worth devoting to his job.

  • OnBoard

    At a time when the “old media”, which makes an effort to adhere to an ethical standard of journalism, is gasping for breath, Yale, one of the nation’s allegedly premier educational institutions can’t come up with the relative chump change to provide a modest number of subscriptions to the nation’s newspaper of record? And then you will hear all the bitching and moaning by the Yale “intelligentsia” about how reporting the news has been perverted and ceded to the likes of the Drudge Report and Huffington. Hell if you are looking to save money there are plenty of volumes in the library that arenot worth replacing based on the number of students who read them… I mean after all how many Yalies have actually read Darwin?

  • none

    You can’t even afford a NYT subscription ?

  • Tanner

    I suggest the New York Post a much better paper. He’s an idea set up a newstand or perhaps Yale can set up newspaper stands around campus to help with that dip in the endowment.
    I might suspect that The New York Times is being saved from bancruptcy by all the scholastic and government supscriptions that no one has the good sense to cancel.

  • really?

    Here’s an idea – take some of the money spent to print the YDN, and buy the Times. With all due respect to the Yale paper, it’s a little more important to be in touch with…well… the WORLD.

  • no!

    What about the Register? Do we pay for that? It is not very high quality–the other CT papers like the New London one is much better, but it is important to be aware of local events. However, cut down on the number! I am sure that there is a donor who would be more than willing to cover the cost of the subscription–I am sure that there on some Yalies who are big wigs at the NYT who would do this. Or, alumni, if you are reading this, please consider.

    Even when I have three minutes to eat bfast, I still have time to glance at the front page of the paper. Keep it! Also consider getting the Wall Street Journal.

  • DC ’10

    Is the religious right behind this?

  • concernednytimesreader

    I think it’s quite ironic that the University would intend to make a move that further threatens print journalism and the type of mindset that forces the NYTimes to consider charging a FEE for ONLINE ACCESS in the first place. If my high school could afford the NYTimes daily, I am pretty sure the University can as well. Additionally, just getting the Sunday times on its own is pretty expensive and getting the daily weekday ones is not that much more costly.

  • SY ’12

    This is devastating. The YCC fails us yet again…

  • JE ’11

    If we have too many NY Times copies, then why do they all disappear every day? Obviously, not everyone at Yale reads the Times… if they did, we would need a lot more copies. Cut something else, it’s already too easy to ignore the (real) news here.

  • registergarbage

    recommendation: cut the 15 useless Register copies that come to every dining hall to 3. Straw poll that, please.

  • Save the NYT!
  • idea

    Why doesn’t Levin take a pay cut? I’m sure student’s will get more out of the NYT every day than he will out of that money.

    Either that or he or any other member of the Yale Corporation can find the money to pay to keep the profoundly intelligent professors in underrepresented fields to stay on for a while.

    Or, I don’t know, let Jane and Joe Yale take a creative writing class if they want to.

  • Economical

    Do we care more about financial aid and educational quality, or NY Times? Personally, I choose educational quality. If the budget is short, start by cutting the things that matter least.

  • bb

    Dont do it. Getting rid of NY times isnt going to make or break Yale’s budget.

  • @ Economical

    Isn’t getting copies of the New York Times part of educational quality?

  • @Economical

    Can’t we care about financial aid, educational quality, and the New York Times? Who says it’s an either/or situation?

    The cost of the New York Times is absolutely trivial compared to amount of our budget spent on financial aid and education.

  • Latin Scholar

    Yale University’s motto: Lux and Veritas
    Yale Corporation’s motto: Make money or die trying.

  • Freebie

    It’s free at the library.

  • anon

    response to Latin Scholar –

    Make money? How much does a NYT subscription cost?

    Penny wise, pound foolish or something else…

  • WSJ Reader

    But what is PK’s opinion on this?

    I gots ta know!

  • JE ’07

    I read the newspaper in the dining hall every day that I could while at Yale and I’m disappointed that it has come to this.
    I think a more reasonable solution is to cut down on the number of newspapers distributed and ask that students who are done reading to return it to a box in the dining hall. Too many times I had to dig the newspaper out of the recycling bin.
    Just order fewer and share amongst yourselves. Is it too much to ask of students? You’re Yalies, I would hope not.

  • @ #9

    The following suggestion is laughable for two reasons:

    “Here’s an idea – take some of the money spent to print the YDN, and buy the Times. With all due respect to the Yale paper, it’s a little more important to be in touch with…well… the WORLD.”

    1) The YDN is entirely self-supporting. Yale does not spend any money to print the YDN. So unless you are suggesting that the YDN pay for the Times to appear in dining halls (?), your proposal makes no sense.

    2) Without the YDN, you wouldn’t have heard about the Times disappearing until it happened. And, you clearly visited the site to comment as well! So, I guess it does serve a function after all…

  • Goldie ’08

    Get the Journal. Only poor losers read the NYT.

  • T

    If copies are disappearing, I’m assuming people aren’t taking them back to their room. I imagine that they are probably being recycled faster than everyone can read them.

    How about this for a solution: After you finishing reading it, put it back together and put it BACK on the newspaper rack.

    Or is that too much effort?

  • The human cost

    Having supported my entire bourbon habit on the salary of a Yale NY Times delivery man when I was a student, my heart of course goes out to the people who will lose student jobs from this decision.

  • english

    FEWER than three times per week.

  • dk

    If fewer than half of the YCC council reads the NYT regularly, that might explain why they are generally out of touch with us in the world around them.

    The main reason why I don’t read the NYT every day is because most days the supply has run out, and I can’t even find an intact copy in the recycling!

    How about YCC members stapling them to spine rods for so people will return them to a rack after reading? Or moving them to common rooms and libraries instead of dining halls where space issues make it harder to keep them in good condition?

    I like the idea of cutting back on the NH Register, the YDN and the other publications that are obviously in oversupply.

    Maybe we can also cut back on the costs of maintaining the YCC.

  • BR ’10

    I love reading the Times in the morning! It can’t be THAT expensive, all things considered…

  • Tanner

    If the Papers are disapearing now wait until the NYT begins charging for the on-line service.

    Hey BR’10 Have mummy and dieddy increase your allowance and buy it yourself. Sorry thats an old Yale sterotype.

  • Fans

    I could not imagine Yale without the NYT. It seems Elis are the sterotypical NYT readers. Speaking of which, I wonder if the decline of the NYT and the rise of Brown has something to do with the decline in Yale applications ?

  • Morse ’11

    Scrap the YCC and keep the NYT.

  • 72 alumna

    Don’t ask alumni to pay for the NYT for you! We each paid for our own subscriptions, delivered to our doors.
    Many of us did the crossword puzzle before breakfast, or at least right after breakfast – how can that tradition have died?

  • ‘Splain me…

    Why is it the papers can’t be put back in the rack when patrons are done with breakfast? This would be actual recycling as opposed to throwing it away when it has only been read once.

    Otherwise, time to grow up, kids. In the real world, you get your own subscription. The Ivy Fairy won’t be there after graduation to anoint you with the NYT every day–you get a job and you pay for it.

    BTW, this is just the beginning of cuts at Yale. Get a jump on the whinging now, because we’re all going to be very very tired of it very soon.

  • From one College to Another

    I at my University am in charge of paper distribution; the NYTimes is one paper we offer. We have readership reports that detail how many taken and how many returned per month and week, and at which locations.

    I highly recommend pressing the YCC for such a document. I guarantee you that your college isn’t buying papers en masse without some type of documentation that describes popularity by the numbers.

  • 09

    I agree with earlier posts… reading the NY Times is time much better spent than reading the YDN. It’s embarrassing how often Yale students have no idea what’s going on around the world. There’s more to our education than classwork.