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College Newspaper Readership: College newspaper readership increases nationwide, but not so much at K

By Viola Brown

In an age where many feel that the print medium is dead, a recent study shows that a majority of students still read their campus newspaper to be updated on school news.

The study conducted by Alloy Media Marketing in 2013 shows that 76 percent of college students have read their college student newspaper in the past 30 days. In schools that publish a paper every weekday, the number raises to 92 percent.

One finding from this survey is that readership is larger in bigger institutions. In small liberal arts colleges like Kalamazoo College, with enrollments of less than 5,000 students, 72 percent of students have read their schools paper within the past 30 days and 45 percent within the last seven days.

For larger schools (like the University of Michigan or Western Michigan University for example) with enrollments of more than 20,000 students, the percentage is slightly higher with 81 percent of students having read their paper within 30 days and 67 percent in seven days.

Another finding shows that readership increases with age, showing that in 30 days, 72 percent of first year students have read their paper while 82 percent of seniors have read their paper.

The study shows that 90 percent of students usually read their campus paper in search of campus news, 69 percent of students in search of entertainment information, and 59 percent for sports.

If the paper includes advertisements, 70 percent of students have been motivated to take action after seeing an advertisement in their paper. If it is an event 50 percent of students have attended and 43 percent have recommended the ad to a friend.

Here at K College, most students admit to reading the Index in order to stay updated on campus events and curiosity, while a few read The Index in order to support those who write for the paper.

“I usually just read the paper whenever I know one of my suitemates has written an article,” says Joana Garcia ’16. Michelle Escobar ’16 agreed and added, “or if I know there is going to be an especially interesting article.”

In a small college like K, word of mouth is the primary source of news, which could contribute to low readership. Students complain about not having enough time to read the Index, and another student even complained about not knowing where to find it.

“I would read the Index, but it feels like a lot of repetition. I want to see more relevant news and not just the same featured persons,” said one student who wished to remain nameless.