Two months of discussions left the Missourian’s future in the Mizzou Readership Program indefinite, but after today, it seems the newspaper is going to stay.
Missouri Students Association President Nick Droege said he received confirmation from Missourian General Manager Dan Potter that the Missourian has committed to work to accommodate the request that students access all content on the newspaper’s website for free.
The Missourian is currently one of four newspapers, along with the New York Times, USA Today and St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that students can take from campus newsstands free of charge.
Droege began talks with the newspaper two months ago, and despite Potter’s initial responsiveness, discussions had subsided during the holidays.
“They understood it was a conversation we needed to have, but after I didn’t hear back after multiple attempts at continuing those talks," Droege said. "I had to keep extending the deadline."
In an email addressed to Potter and sent to many MU administrators and MSA members Wednesday, Droege finally set the deadline for discussions to 5 p.m. on Dec. 13.
If he did not receive a definitive answer by that time, Droege said he would not invite the Missourian to participate in the readership program, effective Jan. 1, 2014.
“... I simply cannot make sense of students being charged to access content from a newspaper that is funded by the university in which they pay fees and tuition to attend,” Droege wrote.
The Missourian requires a $5.95 monthly fee to access any article that has been online for more than 24 hours. The Missourian has required the paywall for all readers, including students, since September 2012.
After MSA received paywall access from The New York Times in March 2013, students have been able to access online content from all newspapers in the program except the Missourian.
The Missourian will be discussing the financial and technological changes and options to accommodate this request during the next 30-40 days, Droege said. Afterward, the two will discuss specifics of the program change.
“With one of the top journalism institutions in the world, it’s something our students can really benefit from,” Droege said Thursday.
Potter was unavailable for comment.