News flash! SGA brings free digital newspaper subscriptions back to students

By ABIGAIL CHANG

SARAH FAGAN

Students will now have access to free New York Times and Wall Street Journal subscriptions, the Student Government Association (SGA) announced in an email to the student body on Sunday evening.

The initiative to provide students access to the two subscriptions, spearheaded by SGA director of institutional affairs Miki Nakano ’20 and SGA treasurer Kenshin Cho ’20, has been in the works since October, Cho said.

SGA arranged the daily delivery of 60 print copies of the Times for several years, but eventually decided that the limited number of papers was not worth the cost — which would have been $27,394, plus a price increase, for annual campus-wide print and web access. In November 2018, the SGA stopped funding campus-wide online access to the Times, also for financial reasons.

The newest decision to provide the student body with online subscriptions to the two newspapers was informed by a survey conducted of other colleges by the library. The results indicated that most of the roughly 80 schools contacted had subscriptions to one or both of the publications, according to Cho. SGA also felt it was important to provide the subscriptions so that students could more easily stay informed about world events and complete assigned reading for classes without running into paywalls.

Cho was unable to share how much SGA is paying for either subscription, as both newspapers included non-disclosure agreements in their contracts with the college. Cho explained how this made the price-negotiation process challenging, as SGA could not legally compare what they were quoted with the prices paid by peer institutions. SGA will have the opportunity to renegotiate pricing at the end of the two-year Wall Street Journal contract and three-year New York Times contract.

The two subscriptions are for digital versions of newspapers, and do not include additional features like crosswords or New York Times Cooking.

“We don’t want to burden the entire student population with paying for the crosswords that some people want to do, whereas we could justify the cost of paying for the actual paper,” Cho said.

Cho explained that SGA opted to subscribe to the Wall Street Journal and the Times in particular because they hoped the two papers would provide different content. He noted that some believe the Wall Street Journal has better business coverage, and that the op-ed sections of the two papers together provide a broader spectrum of voices.

“If we want people to be educated about the world and we are not providing that resource, then I wonder if we are being true to our word,” Cho said.