USA Today readership program lacks thought students deserve
Newspapers are irreplaceable. They chronicle current events and promote a vital dialogue of ideas and opinions. In this student government election, students have an opportunity to demonstrate their support for building a deeper appreciation of newspapers among undergraduates by voting ?yes? on a referendum creating a five-dollar student fee for funding a newspaper readership program. An effective program would achieve the admirable goal of promoting readership and would be well worth the investment.
The challenge, however, is not just funding such a newspaper program but ensuring its responsible administration. The impetus for the referendum was the pilot program, the USA TODAY Collegiate Readership Program. Unfortunately, this program is being misrepresented by USA TODAY. We support this referendum, but student government must push beyond existing efforts and create a responsible, effective, and suitable program for Carnegie Mellon.
Considering the existing concerns, it seems as though there is no defined plan for the implementation or management of the Collegiate Readership Program. There must be a specific organization to take responsibility for the program?s administration. Student Senate must be responsible for promoting the program and ensuring that students are able to take advantage of the provided opportunities. As the planning process continues, Senate must hold public forums ensuring that student interests are represented in any newspaper readership program.
Additionally, it is impossible today to ignore the significance of digital media, particularly the availability of news on the Internet and the growing importance of news blogs. It is vital that any introduction of newspaper?s to campus consider the relationship of students to other forms of media and news. A successful plan will work in conjunction with Internet resources to the greater benefit of the students.
The USA TODAY Collegiate Readership Program is a flawed program, represented by USA TODAY as an educational initiative. In reality, it seems to be more of a marketing scheme to boost advertising revenue as they increase purported readership among college students. With the readership program infiltrating college campuses, USA TODAY can sell more ad space, claiming that the program reaches an untapped audience and breeding future readers in college students.
The referendum presents a great opportunity for the University to invest in a strong effort to promote newspaper readership, engage students in current events, and increase the quality of education delivered at Carnegie Mellon. We must ensure that the short-sighted planning of the USA TODAY program does not squander the noble ideal, and instead establish a desirable alternative readership program.
The referendum is not the way to create student readership. We should focus on more accessible mediums, not simply printed news. Charging all students for newspapers that the majority will not read is irresponsible. We should take steps towards addressing news readership in general, not focus solely on print. Newspapers are one of the most accessible forms of news available. Students wanting to read newspapers are probably reading them already, whether printed or otherwise.