You might have noticed that The New York Times (NYT) paper racks have been empty this semester. That’s because the NYT Readership Program has changed. FIU is now providing digital access to the paper to all students, faculty and staff.
The NYT Readership Program began in 2010 with the belief that free access to one of the world’s highest quality periodicals would help students stay informed and up to date on current events. Paper copies were available during the week at specific locations around campus.
While this method followed the traditional model of newspaper distribution, the way people consume news has shifted over time, with more and more individuals getting their news from online sources and social media sites like Twitter or Facebook. To answer this, the switch from paper to digital also provides access to the NYT tablet and smartphone apps.
“You can access the paper using any device. You can access it while you are standing in line at the grocery store or in the middle of the night if you can’t get back to sleep. The switch to digital should make it much easier for many more people to make reading the NYT a daily habit,” says Eric Feldman, coordinator in the Office of Global Learning Initiatives (OGLI). “Checking for headlines and breaking news on the digital NYT is just as easy as checking for that information on social media feeds, and the information you get is infinitely more dependable and well-researched.”
The switch from paper to digital also comes as a response to changing demographics within the FIU student body. In 2009, a year before the NYT Readership Program began, the student population was just over 40,000. At the beginning of the 2017 academic school year, that number had grown to more than 55,000. Not only are there more students at FIU, but many of those students are either partly or fully online, meaning they wouldn’t have been in a position to pick up a physical copy.
The new digital access means that many more students, not to mention faculty and staff, can read the paper on a regular basis.
“The switch will benefit more students than did the previous arrangement,” Larissa Adams, SGA advisor and Campus Life assistant director at BBC, explains. “Before, the campus only had access to about 150 copies a day, which in reality is not enough for all of our students. Having the online access gives all students an opportunity to access the newspapers.”
Why is it so important the NYT be as accessible as possible to the FIU community? According to Feldman, the NYT Readership Program, which is part of the OGLI’s Global Learning for Global Citizenship Initiative, is not just about information, it’s about engagement.
“The OGLI works with partners across the university to make sure that the NYT involves and inspires all of our community to become more actively engaged in addressing the problems facing our community, our nation and our world,” Feldman says.
The initiative also includes the Tuesday Times Roundtable series, wherein participants can read and reflect on articles and express their opinions and their interpretations from multiple perspectives; the coordination of professional development for faculty members; and bringing in NYT journalists to the MMC and BBC campuses each year.
Indeed, the switch has already benefited students such as Guillermo Lugo, a sophomore studying electrical engineering, who hadn’t ever picked up a physical version of the paper but has accessed the digital NYT. “It’s just so much easier – you don’t have to worry about carrying around the paper copy, and it’s convenient to have access available wherever you are.”
To access the NYT, simply create an account or log in with an existing account that uses an fiu.edu email address. Once a pass is activated, users can log in to their account and access NYTimes.com from any network or location. Passes are good for one year, after which users will need to re-register their account.