Grand Junction Daily Sentinel Provides Free Subscriptions For Local College Students

Newspapers are rarely in a position to give away anything for free—let alone 2,000 subscriptions. As a way to help create a generation of enthusiastic news consumers, the Grand Junction (Colo.) Daily Sentinel recently provided incoming freshman at Colorado Mesa University (CMU) with e-editions to their paper for the year.

The Sentinel has distributed print copies of the paper for years throughout the CMU campus as part of their Newspapers in Education program, but found that today’s undergraduate student just isn’t accustomed to picking up a printed newspaper.

When CMU students presented the idea of giving away online subscriptions, Sentinel publisher Jay Seaton said that it was an easy ask.

“We want to hit them where they are, not where we want them to be,” he said.

Both the paper and the leadership at the university saw the value in a partnership because they could show students at an early age the advantages of reading newspapers, and “getting undergraduates hungry to learn the benefits of the newspaper, and ultimately, our democracy,” said Seaton.

The Sentinel is hopeful that when the free subscription expires, some of the undergraduates will find the information valuable enough to pay for and continue their digital subscription.

“We think people tire of the churn of the 24-hour news cycle filtered through irresponsible and outrage-prone social media outlets,” said Seaton. “We can offer reliable, vetted national and local news free of political bias or malicious manipulation.”

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2 thoughts on “Grand Junction Daily Sentinel Provides Free Subscriptions For Local College Students

  • November 15, 2018 at 7:27 am

    As long as a host pays for all food, drinks, and entertainment, there will always be a room filled with friends and customers. However, when the party is over and it is time to charge all friends and customers, the once crowded room empties quickly.

  • November 15, 2018 at 7:41 am

    Congratulations to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. But why not take this a bit farther? Free e-edition subscriptions to all college students in the market? All college students from Grand Junction who are attending college elsewhere? Certain professors and teachers in the market who might incorporate the material into their curricula? It’s silly not to. The cost is negligible; the “opportunity cost” is near zero (“they wouldn’t have been buying it anyway”), and the value may be immeasurable (or may eventually be measurable in new sales and subscriptions).
    This glib article — news release, really — didn’t answer the most obvious questions any first-year reporter should have asked:
    — How much does this actually *cost* the Daily Sentinel? (Given the cost of e-edition access, it’s probably in the pennies. Literally.)
    — Since this experiment apparently has been going on for a few months, how many of the incoming freshmen are actually accessing the e-edition? It may be in the tens, or hundreds, or fewer, but the e-edition provider could give that information to the newspaper within seconds. (Or perhaps the paper could access that information directly.) *That’s* critical information for other newspapers considering whether to follow suit with the Daily Sentinel.
    E-editions are a terrific tool for determining reader engagement, which articles were read (for how long), which sections were viewed, how many users opened the “paper,” who and how many times articles were forwarded, etc. With college students, especially, that would be extraordinarily valuable information — both for the newspaper, and for this article.
    Fluff reporting like this is hardly what one should expect from the industry’s leading publication, even though it (like so many of the newspapers it serves) has been decimated by shrinking staff, budget cuts, etc.


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