Iowa Students Oppose Gannett Free Paper Drive

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By: E&P Staff

A proposal by Gannett to expand a free newspaper circulation program at Iowa State University has some on campus — particularly ISU’s student paper — up in arms.

Gannett wants to distribute its Des Moines Register and USA Today as well as the Chicago Tribune and The New York Times free campuswide, according to a report in the Iowa State Daily. The company already has a similar program underway in the residence halls on campus.

But some argue that the Gannett Newspaper Readership Program is not exactly free. The program, which is currently before the Government of the Student Body, would be offset by a $5 per student per semester charge in the 2003-2004 academic year.

Mark Witherspoon, editorial adviser for the Daily, said an expansion of the program also would hurt the ISU Daily, where students not only produce the editorial content but sell advertising. More free national papers owned by large corporations on campus would significantly hinder efforts by Daily staffers to sell national advertising, he argued.

Aaron Toye, a spokesman for USA Today, told the ISU Daily that Gannett isn’t trying to dupe anyone or hurt the campus publication: “I truly do not believe the program represents a threat to the Daily,” he said. “There’s room for all our newspapers on this campus.”

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