Extra! Extra! Newspapers Are NOT Dead
This month, a non-credit Smith College course encourages the habit of daily newspaper reading. And a longstanding endowment ensures students will always be able to afford the publications delivered to their campus houses.
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- Dwindling newspaper readership? Not at Smith College, where one faculty member is encouraging students to “Read the New York Times Every Day” through her Interterm course, and an endowment ensures students can read that and other newspapers every day in their campus houses.
“Immerse yourself in the experience of turning crinkly large-format pages with newsprint-stained fingers,” reads the description for the non-credit course, taught by Linda Kim, a visiting assistant art professor. “Bask in the Pulitzer Prize-winning writing, photography and art direction, and cutting editorials.”
Each January, during the break between semesters, Smith offers a program of non-credit courses on themes ranging from sustainability to wellness.
Kim said she decided to offer her New York Times course after recognizing that students are often too harried during the semester to read the newspaper for an extended period of time.
It is not for lack of material. The campus houses are stocked with publications, thanks to an endowment begun six decades ago. Nearly all the residences have subscriptions to the New York Times, and many additionally subscribe to the Wall Street Journal and Boston Globe.
But the ease of checking Internet news sources from mobile devices combined with hefty academic schedules means there is ultimately less time to read them thoroughly.
“A short, targeted course like this gives students the opportunity to read the news with some depth and share their interpretations of the news with others,” said Kim about her four-day course, January 18 to 21. She selected the New York Times because it is considered the nation’s "newspaper of record," she added.
Because courses held during the month-long January break tend to draw students from a wide variety of majors, each student will bring an individual disciplinary lens to the news, she said. A government student may read a report about elections in an international community with a different perspective than a student of the country’s language.
While Kim’s course is on schedule, another interterm course related to the news was cancelled due to low registration. The drama course, “Create a Living Newspaper,” – modeled on a genre of the Depression-era Federal Theatre Project – will not take place.