The Student Union (SU) signed a one year contract on Thursday, March 9, giving all Stuyvesant students and faculty free access to The New York Times (NYT) online. All students and faculty with a stuy.edu e-mail address are eligible to claim a free All-Digital Access online subscription to The NYT. The subscription will give users unlimited access to NYT articles and other content including blogs and multimedia.
For someone without a free subscription, it would cost $3.75 per week to buy basic online access to The NYT.
The new subscription is a result of the efforts of Student Union Vice President Tahseen Chowdhury. Chowdhury initially reached out to The NYT in November 2016, but at the time, the cost to get a school-wide subscription was $9,000, and it was determined to be too expensive for the school’s budget. Chowdhury was inspired to reach out to The NYT again after a Stuyvesant student approached him in the hallway, asking whether getting school-wide access to The NYT might be possible.
In response to Chowdhury’s original e-mails, a representative of The NYT reached out to Chowdhury, offering a free subscription to the online paper. The free access came about as a result of an NYT fundraising program aimed at giving schools access to The NYT, irrespective of the school’s ability to pay. In the end, the agreement was reached quickly. “They ended up reaching out to me via e-mail and I was like, let’s do it. It was done in a couple of hours,” Chowdhury said.
Many students believe this new access will have a lot of benefits. “We can use The New York Times to do homework and maybe with this free access to The [New York] Times, [students] might look at news more often,” freshman Evelyn Cao said.
Teachers are also excited and supportive of this new resource. “A bunch of teachers have e-mailed me and they have been very happy about this because it is another resource for them. Especially in a time when there is fake news and a ton of media issues, it is important that we know what is going on and we have reliable resources available to us and The NYT, I believe, is a very reliable resource,” Chowdhury said.
Guidance counselor Vivien Ngai has already signed up for the new NYT subscription. “I am super super excited. I [read] The New York Times headlines every single day, but when I want to go deeper it stops me because I’m not subscribed. This is a major radical improvement for the Stuy[vesant] community,” Ngai said.
However, there are differing opinions as to the actual impact the new subscription will have on Stuyvesant’s access to the paper, and overall, the relevance it has to students. “I feel like most of the people who would read The New York Times are people whose families already have subscriptions to newspapers. My general impression is that while this is a great opportunity for Stuy[vesant] students, it will not be taken fully taken advantage of,” junior Daniel Knopf said.
Although the contract signed by the SU is only for one year, they are hopeful that The NYT will decide to renew it. “I think we’ll extend it into the next year. It usually gets extended. In terms of the paperwork, it is a year. Of course, if they ask me to renew it, I will definitely renew it. It is a good thing for everyone,” Chowdhury said.