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ND granted access to New York Times

Ann Marie Jakubowski | Monday, February 18, 2013

Free online access to the New York Times is now available to Notre Dame students through the College Readership Program, an initiative funded by Notre Dame’s student government.  Students were informed they would begin to have access to this service in a Feb. 12 email announcement.   

The College Readership Program, which came to campus in 2005, provides 300 print copies each of the New York Times and USA Today, along with a smaller number of the South Bend Tribune to select locations on the Notre Dame campus. Maxwell Brown, director of the Department of Academic Affairs for student government, said his department worked with representatives from the Times this year to extend the program to include the online access.

“Essentially, the New York Times is now offering this [online] program to academic institutions due to a change on their end of the subscription,” Brown said. “We subscribe to the College Readership Program, and because we have 300 copies subscribed to, we now get 300 online seats per day.”

Students can create an account on the Times website using their nd.edu email address, which will get them an online “seat” that lasts 24 hours. Brown said while the seat expires after 24 hours, the access is renewed simply by logging on again with the same password, and so the access is constant for all intents and purposes.

“The most important part is that you get this 24 hour online access, and the seats refresh constantly so as long as there aren’t 300 people using it at once, there is a seat for you,” Brown said.

The current user data shows that 300 seats seems to be the ideal number for the student body, providing enough spots for interested students without too many left empty each day, he said. Students get “locked out” of the access if more than 300 are using it at any given time.

“The first day, we used as many seats as we had, but we think that was just a first push,” Brown said. “We haven’t gotten many reports of people getting locked out, so it looks like we have enough seats without buying more than we need.”

Student Body President Brett Rocheleau said the project’s goal was to make it easier for students to stay informed and updated on current events, especially given the widespread use of electronic devices on campus.

“The online access just allows students to use different media than the options we’ve worked with in the past with the College Readership Program,” Rocheleau said. “Moving forward in the digital age, this will help connect the campus more.”

He said student government plans to pay attention to student usage patterns for the online access.

“I think it will be interesting to see how many students will use this online access,” Rocheleau said. “At any time, they can log on with their net ID and get in for 24 hour, even if they end up just reading one article they happen to be interested in.

“They’ll have a greater understanding of what’s going on in the world around them and this will hopefully help them have more informed discussions with others on campus.”

Brown said this initiative fits into the mission of the Department of Academic Affairs to connect with students and make it easy for them to learn and acquire information.

“We’re always looking for ways to get to students… and we think it’s really important that people have this access to current events,” Brown said. “That’s why we have the Collegiate Readership Program. Now, we’re excited that students will have the access they need from all kinds of different [electronic] devices.”

The data that student government collects about the consumption of the newspapers across campus shows that the community values the print access and every week nearly all 300 copies of the newspapers are used, he said.

“This initiative was a direct response to student desires,” Brown said. “The demand has always been there for the readership program in general. This is just a way to expand that.”

Students interested in using this access can create an account at nytimes.com with their Notre Dame email address. Brown said anyone with problems accessing the online content should contact student government for help.