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Penn community members can access their free New York Times subscription by creating an online account using their PennKeys. Credit: Kylie Cooper

The Penn Libraries will now offer students, faculty, and staff free digital access to The New York Times.

In an email sent to undergraduate students on June 10, the University announced that the Penn Libraries will provide a “campus-wide subscription” to The New York Times. Penn community members can access their subscription — both on The New York Times' website and its mobile app — by creating an online account using their PennKeys.

After creating an online account, students can customize their experiences by subscribing to newsletters and following topics, Penn Libraries News reported.

Associate Vice Provost for Collections and Scholarly Communications at the Penn Libraries Brigitte Weinsteiger said the Penn Libraries has been trying to negotiate access to The New York Times “for a really long time." She explained that the transition from print to online formats in recent decades has made it difficult for newspapers to determine how to provide customers with fair prices while also keeping their publication profitable.

“It’s hard to know how much [money] is reasonable for a campus-wide subscription to something, but I think we’ve finally reached a place where publishers like The New York Times really understand that better,” she said.

Weinsteiger said the University decided to give Penn students and staff access to The New York Times because of its reputation as one of the most widely read newspapers in the United States. Free subscriptions to publications like The New York Times benefit Penn students by keeping them informed about domestic and international news, she added.

Rising College senior Rachel Swym said she is already making use of the free subscription to The New York Times, adding that The New York Times offers more content focused on humanities subjects relative to the other publications the Penn Libraries give students free access to.

The Penn Libraries currently gives students free subscriptions to The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Financial Times.

“I really appreciate that they are offering access to something like The New York Times, which has both opinion pieces and fiction pieces, book reviews, and more things that are outside the most factual lens of journalism,” Swym said. 

Rising College junior Frank Ma said that a free subscription to The New York Times provides students with another resource to explore their interests. Ma, who is interested in economics and consulting, said that having access to The New York Times' business section will allow him to stay informed about different industries.

Like Ma, rising College junior Winston Peloso said the free subscription benefits students by allowing them to stay informed about current events from a credible news source. He added that by offering students access to The New York Times, which is more left-leaning than The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, he feels that the Penn Libraries is exposing students to a variety of perspectives.

Rising College junior Emilia Onuonga, a student worker at the Penn Libraries and former opinion columnist at The Daily Pennsylvanian, said that having free access to The New York Times only furthers the Penn Libraries’ mission to give students access to a diversity of sources and information. She added that she hopes the Penn Libraries continues to make students aware of the many resources available to them.

“I think having access to The New York Times is really important to continue learning as a young adult,” Onuonga said.

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