Libresco: For a paper in print

Apocalypse Next

As a New York Times reader, I can’t sleep in on Fridays, even if I don’t have class, because I know, if I am too late, the newspaper racks will be empty. Perhaps you’ve spotted me in Commons on those days when I’ve overslept. I’m the frazzled looking girl with hair sticking up every which way sifting through the recycling bins, trying to assemble a complete paper out of discarded sections.

Although not all students currently read The New York Times regularly, the speed at which papers are taken shows that demand is high enough to match the number of papers we currently receive. I do not want to have to start arriving at Commons at nine in order to snag a paper, but the case for keeping The New York Times is stronger than simply protecting my right as a Yale student to not get up early on Fridays.

When Yale provides free copies of The New York Times, it is doing more than saving me the six dollars a week it would cost me to get my own copies Monday through Friday. Although I would be glad to pay for a subscription (and do have The New York Times delivered on Saturday and Sunday), many students pick up The New York Times and read it regularly because it is free and available.

Yale is cozening us into becoming regular newspaper readers after college by letting us make a habit of it now, cost free. And by getting college students hooked on newspapers, Yale is helping to create well informed, broadly informed citizens, which I believe is an important part of our mission as a liberal arts university.

Reading the print edition of The New York Times is different from reading it online. Reading the paper in print forces you to see all stories, even while skimming, and allows an article outside your normal interests to catch your eye. Print papers broaden interests, online subscriptions allow people to read only what they seek out.

It also is valuable to have common sources of news on campus allowing students to spark conversations by gathering around an interesting article or passing around copies of the paper. To be honest, it’s valuable to have a source of outside news on campus, period — as important and interesting as front page stories about notable prefrosh may be to some students, there is a world outside the Yale bubble and we are better for being physically confronted with news from it.

The fact that fewer than half of the students in the Yale Daily News study said they read the paper more than three times a week should have no bearing on whether Yale should continue to provide The New York Times. Many of the resources Yale offers are not used by all students, but they are available to everyone on campus. I would never advocate cutting dance studios, wood shops, printing presses or weight rooms simply because the majority of students don’t use them. Whether we use them or not, we benefit from the creative uses that Yale students find for these resources. They add value to a Yale education.

Students are continuing to support The New York Times. The Facebook group has grown, as has the petition. Hopefully, President Levin and the Yale College Council will recognize the importance of keeping The New York Times on campus, but here’s one more student hoping that the University will find other ways to save money. Perhaps, it can start with the YCC.

Leah Libresco is a junior in Jonathan Edwards College.


  • Irony

    Aren’t all of the purposes laid out here satisfied by the availability of the very paper which is printing Leah’s article?

  • Ted Jaroszewicz, ’79

    You can read the NY Times online. You’re already a subscriber.

  • FailBoat

    These same idiots who extol the virtues of a hard paper copy of the New York Times then insist that I change my light bulbs and dine without a tray.

  • @ Irony, ’12

    No, no they aren’t. The YDN is no NYT! And the point, Ted, is that the online version is just not the same.

    I think Leah has done a great job explaining why we ought to keep the Times.

  • online edition

    Reading NYT online doesn’t prevent you from skimming stories, in fact more headlines fit on a single page online than a single page of newspaper. If you’re skimming through, having lead to the global edition will give a lot more international news than the print copy.

    If we need to meet the budget shortfall, having the online edition available is a fine substitute.

    I thought one suggestion to replace a M-F subscription with F, Sat, Sun a good idea, though it might not save any money.

  • @2

    Except reading online is going to cost money within the month.

  • Separate Definitely Not Equal

    The YDN fulfills virtually none of the functions Leah outlines. If I want to hear about the world beyond an AP wire, I need my NYT.

  • ’12

    You summarized my own views perfectly, Leah. I still can’t believe this is even an issue.

  • @3

    I’m not impressed with the assertion that reading the NYT online ‘just isn’t the same.’ If you want to justify the expense of the paper, i think you should come up with a more rigorous argument.

    As for #3, i think your observation is correct… but i would assert that we should be reading papers online, dining without trays, *and* using energy efficient technology. It’s not a partisan issue… it’s just being responsible so that future generations (and our own) aren’t screwed over because of our waste.

  • Waste Not, Want Not

    FailBoat is completely right — yale has to make budget cuts, and it’s doing it in one of the least offensive ways possible. Taking away a wasteful paper copy when the information is available online freely and without hurting any trees. Guess what Leah? You don’t have to be the frazzled girl in the dining hall scrambling for the last paper with clothes and hair amok. You could be sitting at your desk (or in bed) getting the exact same information.

    We’ve got to save money somewhere. And I for one like this better than cutting small classes.

  • Yale ’11

    As an online (and occasionally print-copy) New York Times reader I still really value the presence of the print copy of the NYT on campus, not least because hey, if the NYT stops making money, it’s going to stop printing … and when the NYT goes down, that will be bad news for the world. I also have wondered, though, about whether or not to join the facebook group, sign the petition, etc. Mainly it has to do with what this is “instead of” – like, people have been saying “I’d rather Yale not fire anyone” or “I’d rather keep small classes.” Very much agreed with both. But are there other things the university could cut instead? It seems like there must be something more frivolous than the newspaper (the newspaper! being informed! so important!) that the university could cut from its budget.

  • FailBoat

    I like how pro-NYT advocates have been reduced to claiming that their subscription to the NYT is all that’s keeping the “newspaper of record” afloat.

    The NYT’s demise being “bad news” is such a normative claim that it makes me laugh. At best, the issue is partisan. Let the Yale College Dems subsidize their propaganda rag, and the Yale College Republicans can subsidize the WSJ or something.

  • online nyt reader

    you see just as many, if not more, headlines by reading the paper online. just go to the nytimes front page and scroll up and down – it takes 5 seconds, and there’s like a thousand different links there to articles. if that’s not good enough for you, set up an RSS feed and you can see every single headline the newspaper puts out.

    the print media is obsolete. people should deal with it.

  • New York Times Employee

    For the pres. of the YPU, the argument presented, or what seems to pose as an argument, is surprisingly weak.

    While a hard copy should, by all means, be kept on campus – especially at a university such as Yale – one should not be so quick to poorly judge the online edition of the NYTimes.

    When arguing why Yale should keep the hard copy on campus, one should focus more on print’s distinct benefits, without having to resort to noting’s “shortcomings”.

  • @14, plus

    Well said!

    I find it surprising that just a couple months ago, Yalies were complaining about the ban of laptops from class. Now, they claim they can’t live without print. Seriously? What are you reading on your laptops?

    If anything, Levin should reconsider a partnership with NYT when and if the put up a pay wall. But for now, this is a reasonable way to cut costs w/o firing people.

  • abc

    I agree that usage polls are the wrong way to approach this issue. Try a usage poll on how many of us use the SML stacks and the Beinecke Library on a frequent basis. Now that could point to some HUGE potential savings.

  • keep NYT

    Cut the sex week and the porn star! Keep NYT!

  • Jonathan Yip

    In this age of e-news everywhere, I think $50k for dead trees is pretty hard to justify.