The six-week trial period of the Newspaper Readership Program began Monday, with copies of the New York Times, Financial Times and USA Today being made available in each residential college as well as in Commons and the McDougal Center in the Hall of Graduate Studies.

The program, coordinated by USA Today, was set up after the Yale College Council passed a resolution on Dec. 2 suggesting that the Yale administration establish a free pilot program. The administration will decide whether to pay to continue the program.

“It’s something I’ve been working on pretty much since the end of October, but the administration has been extremely helpful in getting the necessary parties together and launching the pilot program,” said Andrew Klaber ’04, who wrote the YCC resolution.

The Newspaper Readership Program began in 1996 at Pennsylvania State University and has since expanded to include more than 300 colleges. Colleges are permitted to choose which three papers are distributed, and can tailor the program to suit their individual budgets.

During every day of the pilot program, the 12 residential colleges, Commons and HGS will receive 60 papers each. On the first day, 20 copies of each newspaper were provided, but the proportions will be adjusted based on which papers are read most at each college and on a pre-survey handed out to students Monday. YCC representatives and other students will monitor the readership, and dining hall employees and custodial services will also be asked for their input.

“Of course there’s going to be a big focus on recycling the newspapers,” Klaber said. “We’re really hoping that students won’t just do the crossword puzzle and throw them out.”

YCC President Vidhya Prabhakaran ’03 said he felt the most important aspect of the program is that it is thus far only a pilot program.

“What we’re trying to evaluate is if students actually use it or not. My impression is that students use the Internet,” Prabhakaran said. “If it turns out a lot of students are using it, I think President Levin will definitely go along with it. He seemed pretty excited when we talked about it.”

Ka-yen Hung ’04, who usually reads the Financial Times online, said he enjoyed being able to read the newspaper at breakfast.

“I think it’s a really good idea,” Hung said. “It’s a little more convenient than reading the YDN about 10 times.”

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