St. Thomas students can now access The New York Times, and soon the Pioneer Press, for free using their St. Thomas email address.
Former Undergraduate Student Government President senior Mike Orth said USG has always allocated money to providing students with free access to news sources, most recently the Star Tribune copies distributed daily throughout campus.
However, Orth said with the surge in popularity of online news, along with St. Thomas’ efforts to go green, USG decided to purchase the rights to online newspapers instead of subscribing to paper copies.
“We moved away from the Star Tribune just because the price didn’t quite fit what we were looking for,” Orth said. “So we found a good system with The New York Times and Pioneer Press.”
Junior Emily Hughes said she thinks the Pioneer Press is a good choice for St. Thomas students, but that The New York Times might not be as popular.
“The New York Times … that’s not necessarily all relevant, or like, hometown news, it’s more worldwide,” Hughes said. “So I don’t know if they’re going to get that much of a turnout.”
Orth said USG provided copies of the Star Tribune every day for many years in the Murray-Herrick Center cafeteria, but the program “fell away” after the Anderson Student Center opened.
Hughes said she prefers the print newspaper copies.
“I much prefered the paper copy in the (cafeteria), because you could read while eating breakfast,” Hughes said.
Undergraduate students can now go to nytimes.com/passes, create an account with their St. Thomas email address and instantly gain free, full access to the site’s content from any location or network.
“I personally use it,” Orth said. “It works great, and it’s very simple and easy to log in. It’s fun to use.”
Senior Britni Mollner said she would use both news website and the free access is hard to pass up.
“I definitely would (use it),” Mollner said. “Newspapers these days are not cheap. The price of print is going up, so it would be nice to have access to it for free online.”
Hughes said she gets her news from her Twitter feed, and prefers that to looking at an online news website.
“Maybe (I would use it) for like papers and stuff if you need something new, like recent topics … but otherwise I don’t think (I would use it),” Hughes said. “It takes more time than just scrolling through Twitter.”
Students will need to re-log in every 24 hours because the New York Times only allows so many “passes,” or number of students who log in to the site, each day. Orth said that St. Thomas has somewhere between 200 and 400 passes for St. Thomas students to use each day.
A partnership with the Pioneer Press is still in the works, but Orth said student access to the local news source should be up and running in the near future.
Orth said the electronic access will now provide students with local and international news, no matter where they are.
“Now students don’t even have to be on campus,” Orth said. “I’m a commuter student so I can be at my apartment in the morning, and when I wake up, I can pull up the New York Times and read it.”
USG uses the money from student activity fees to pay for the access to the sites. Council members will review the agreements with both news sources each semester to determine whether or not they will renew the access.
“The great thing about having electronic system is that we can easily see how many students access it each day, who tends to access it and whether the program is successful,” Orth said.
The free access has not yet been advertised to students, but Orth said new USG council members will focus on marketing to students so they might take advantage of the access.
“With the new USG council coming in, that’s something they will be working on. There’s definitely going to be a lot of marketing around it,” Orth said. “We want students to use it, to take advantage of it, because if they don’t, this probably isn’t going to be something we’re going to keep.”
Gabrielle Martinson can be reached at email@example.com.