Aug 302007
 
Authors: Todd Metcalf

Anybody with a gift card or driver’s license can get access to newspapers paid for by student fees, Campus Television reporters found Thursday.

The Collegiate Readership newspaper stands-intended to increase readership among college students-are malfunctioning, allowing instructors, professors and passersby to reap the benefits of the student-funded service.

The machines, which read “complimentary to students; Insert Student ID,” open for anything from a faculty ID to a McDonald’s gift card, reporters found.

The service was not intended to benefit CSU professors or instructors.

“There is really no way to tell whether I’m taking a newspaper or a professor is,” said Katie Gleeson, president of the Associated Students of CSU. “We have been working with USA Today to fix it, we have also been trying to sync with our Student ID office to figure out the kinks.”

ASCSU brought the program to campus last year, which provides 1,000 copies of USA Today, The New York Times and the Denver Post to students five days a week.

The malfunctioning machines, according to USA Today, are the result of simplistic mechanics and a desire to give access to students.

“They (the machines) are pretty simple in their capabilities in that they are only battery-operated and independent units,” Stacy Pisoni, account manager for USA Today, told CTV Thursday. “So the card readers are only as good as the info provided by the school.”

“We are definitely working to make them more secure,” she added.

The program cost students a total of about $25,000 last semester, but that cost has gone up to about $36,000 after the program increased its locations on campus and added the machines – ultimately costing about $1.50 per student.

The newspapers are in open racks in the resident halls, as students need a key to access the buildings, Gleeson said.

“We were hoping that the writing outside of the readers will alert people that this is a student program, and this should be for students,” she said.

The program is offered to over 300 colleges and universities across the nation. The universities are then charged the student rate depending on how many papers are sold per day.

When the readership program was first introduced at CSU, newspapers were placed in open racks. Recognizing that anyone could pick up the papers, CSU planned to have card-reading machines working this semester.

Despite its glitches, Gleeson said she’s still optimistic about the program.

“They did some surveys,” last semester, “did a four-week trial and then there was an overwhelming positive response from students,” she said.

“I will still pick up a Collegian before I pick up any other newspaper,” Gleeson added.

CTV News Director Todd Metcalf can be reached at todd.metcalf@ctv11.com.

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