Collegiate Readership Program hasn’t disappeared

| Gretchen Burns reporter |

Students, professors and faculty will have a more difficult, and in some cases longer walk, to find The USA Today, The Joplin Glove and the Pittsburg Morning Sun newspapers this year.
The papers are part of the Collegiate Readership Program, a program sponsored by the Student Government Association (SGA). To retrieve a copy of any paper within the program, students simply swipe their student ID card into the machine and take which copy they like. However, several of the distribution machines disappeared over the summer, leaving the question of whether the program still exists or has become extinct.
Newspaper readers will be glad to know the program has not disappeared, it has merely been scaled down due to low readership. Last year, there were six distribution centers across campus for students to pick up papers. This year, there are three.
Thomas Myers, senior in biology, wasn’t pleased when he went to pick up a paper in the Gibson Dining Hall to go along with his coffee, only to find there wasn’t a distribution center there anymore.
“I think it is a shame to scale down the program across campus,” he said. “It is a nice way to reach the students and inform an age group where we are becoming adults and becoming aware of current events. We are beginning to form opinions that actually are listened to. Having a source of information helps us learn more about an event.”
Bailey Jones was also looking forward to her morning paper and was irritated at the lack of her usual distribution center in the dining hall.
“I don’t go into any of those buildings for my major,” said Jones, sophomore in justice studies. “I liked the one in the dining hall. I would grab one to read on my way out from eating breakfast.”
The program was originally initiated to get news into classrooms across campus.
Professors once had access to their own copies of the papers and many would use them to introduce current events in their courses. Over time, however, professors’ access to the bins was cut off and only students were granted access.
The papers provided have also changed overtime. The Kansas City Star was one of original papers issued through the program, but when distribution zones changed, The Joplin Globe was introduced in replacement of the Star. Two years ago, SGA considered adding the New York Times or the
Wall street Journal, but the price with each was too much, so the program stuck with the current three papers.
SGA is charged for the papers taken, not the number issued per day. The money that funds the program is not provided through student fees. Instead, it comes from a pool of money raised in 2001, specifically dedicated to the Collegiate Readership Program.
Clark Neal, senior in Spanish, says he feels that fewer distribution centers is an improvement on the campus.
“I just read the news online,” he said. “If we had Vice magazine, or the Wall street Journal for sale, I’d buy them but that’s the only print news form I would pay for, or consider picking up,”
“Print media is continually proving itself to be too slow to efficiently inform the people on domestic and global issues. There’s no sense anymore in sitting down to a morning paper with a cup of coffee to read about what happened yesterday. We have to know what’s taking place today or it’s too late.”
For now, SGA is attempting to boost the program and hopes to have a fourth distribution center located in Overman Student Center once renovations are complete.

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