MU newspaper readership ranks first in SEC

A study finds MU has the most newspaper readership of SEC schools.
MU has the highest rated Readership Program in the Southeastern Conference.

As one of the top journalism schools in the nation, MU might take for granted the number of newspapers available on campus, but a USA Today study recently found MU also has the highest newspaper readership in the Southeastern Conference.

MU is ranked above every other SEC school in newspaper consumption (students who pick up a newspaper each day), according to the USA Today study.

Overseen by the Missouri Students Association, the Mizzou Readership Program ensures students have access to newspapers around campus. Students are able to choose from The New York Times, USA Today, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Columbia Missourian. These newspapers are offered for free to all students with the simple swipe of a student ID card. Newspapers are also found near the entrance of many residence halls.

According to a previous Maneater article, students pay a $2.31 fee every semester that covers the cost of the Mizzou Readership Program. Weekly subscriptions for a student would cost $3.70 for The New York Times, $2.49 for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, $2.50 for USA Today and $2.37 for the Columbia Missourian. Subscribing to all four of these papers would total $176.96 per student per semester, so the program enables students read these publications with little cost.

The University of Georgia, the second-place school in the readership rankings, offers a similar service on campus. UGA offers the Athens Banner-Herald, The New York Times and USA Today, according to its Student Government Association website.

The University of Arkansas is placed fifth of the 10 SEC schools. It provides USA Today, The New York Times and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette free of charge to students.

Even though MU has the highest readership, the number provided cannot account for the number of newspapers actually read.

Junior Alex Madinger said he doesn’t read newspapers very often if at all.

“I’ll pick one up and read that article if a headline catches my eye,” Madinger said. “I usually don’t read past that one article.”

Madinger said he sees the benefit of having newspapers available even if he doesn’t use them.

“The only downside would be that if they’re not being used, it’s a big waste of paper,” Madinger said. “If they’re being used, it’s great that they’re being made available to students.”

Sophomore Brian Nestel said he regularly reads three newspapers.

“I usually read from USA Today, The Maneater and The Missourian,” Nestel said.

Nestel said he tries to pick up these papers twice a week.

“I pick them up because they're free,” Nestel said. “I read USA Today because it’s a good paper and it has all the national headlines in one place. The Missourian gives me the news from around CoMo, and The Maneater fills me in on some school-related news I might not hear elsewhere.”

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