SUMMARY: STUDENT NEWSPAPER READERSHIP PROGRAM
AT EAST CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
The program provides free newspapers (USA Today, the New York Times, the News & Observer, and the Daily Reflector) to students as well as faculty who participate in the program. Participating faculty must include the newspapers in their syllabi and provide a copy to the Office of Co-Curricular Programs and Cultural Outreach. Faculty who use the papers in class receive complimentary papers that are made available in special drop boxes.
Newspaper stands are located in at five locations on east campus--Mendenhall Student Center, Joyner East, Bate Building, Wright Place, and the Croatan. A sixth box was added to west campus in October. The newspaper stands on campus are purple, and students may access a free paper by swiping their 1 cards. Daily Reflector newspapers are located in residence halls, as well.
Additionally, there are opportunities to work with the newspapers to pursue speakers, internships, case study contests, and more. Currently we are working with the New York Times to secure a speaker for Constitution Day in the fall of 2008. These resources are an untapped source and should be further exploited in upcoming years.
The Readership program was spearheaded during 2005-2006 by Dr. Al Smith, then Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Student Development. During his tenure, Dr. Smith arranged a two-year contract totaling approximately $80,000 per year to extend through 2008. Approximately 60 faculty participated in the program in 13 disciplines.
An average of 3200 newspapers is picked up each month. Approximately 25 faculty in 19 disciplines currently participate.
Research indicated that the program, both in 2005-06 and 2006-07 met its goals of enhancing the educational environment on campus; increasing students’ knowledge of local, national, and world events; encouraging a lifelong daily newspaper readership habit; and creating more engaged citizens. It has also laid the foundation for continued co-curricular collaborations.
Research for the current year is underway. In February 2008 1500 ECU students and participating faculty were surveyed. Results are still being tallied.