The fall season has come and gone, and mixed with piles of
fallen leaves are piles of unread newspapers. Many professors at
the University who want their students to be well informed on
current events require them to buy newspaper subscriptions for
class, and soon after the start of the semester, the pileup
begins.

Mira Levitan
A pile of unread newspapers sits in front of a house on Fifth Avenue. Many students who are required to subscribe to newspapers for classes fail to read them. (JOEL FRIEDMAN/ Daily)

The biggest contributor to the accumulation of unread papers is
the Journal-in-Education Program, a student-targeted newspaper
program sponsored by The Wall Street Journal.

The program provides incentives for students and professors to
subscribe to the Journal. Students pay $34.95 for 15 weeks of the
Journal in print and online — about half the non-student
price. Professors get a free subscription if they refer 10 students
or more to the program.

At Michigan, 761 students now have a subscription to the
Journal. That means the Journal delivers at least 115,000
newspapers to campus in one school year — at a cost to
students of $53,000. If each paper weighs 2 pounds, that’s
230,000 pounds of papers delivered to the doorsteps of
students.

“There are three types of students that subscribe to the
Journal at the University of Michigan,” said Heather Strain,
Journal-in-Education sales representative for the University.
“In the first group, professors will either require a
subscription or highly recommend that it be purchased. In the
second group, first-year MBA day students receive a complementary
subscription purchased by a private corporation that recruits at
the University’s Business School. The last group is just
students that think it will be helpful for them to
subscribe.”

Strain added that the University is a large market for
subscriptions.

“The University of Michigan is a big account with a lot of
stable subscribers, but some universities require that all of their
students purchase a subscription. Just about every major university
is involved with the program,” she said.

According to the Journal-in-Education website, “Faculty
members who refer 10 new student subscribers in the current
semester or quarter will receive a complimentary one-year
subscription to The Journal, in both print and online formats.

“Students indicate at the site which instructor referred
them so we can credit individual professor’s
accounts.”

Economics Prof. Alan Deardorff, who has used the
Journal-in-Education program for 25 years, said many of his
students likely did not take advantage of their Wall Street Journal
subscriptions.

“I would guess that the median student does not read it at
all,” he said.

Business School Prof. Jefferson Williams said he does not
consistently incorporate the Journal into his lesson plans.

“This fall I have used the Wall Street Journal only
infrequently,” he said. “I have not assigned any
readings. I have made mention of articles from time to time and
have also compiled stock price and other market data to illustrate
topics. Very seldom have I assigned more than four articles during
a term.”

In a pile in front of the Viscount apartment complex on Geddes
Avenue were papers with addresses for Norway Road, Austin Avenue,
Wilmot Avenue and Woodside Street. None of the papers had the
address of the Geddes residence.

“All these papers in front of the house are from people
who lived here two years ago. We called to cancel them, but they
wouldn’t.” Jim Dinner said. Other students interviewed
were also receiving the previous residents’
subscriptions.

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