To the Editor:
The Oct. 9 Herald editorial urging the University to provide individual Providence Journal subscriptions to the Brown community is powerful in its description of the problems facing the Providence Journal and other American newspapers. These difficulties have adverse impacts on the cohesion and health of the American municipalities that the newspapers have served.
As a career journalist who got his start at The Herald, I appreciate your call for the University “to play its part in the defense of local news — and, by extension, the well-being of the Providence community” by buying individual subscriptions to this endangered local newspaper.
As explained in a follow-up Herald clarification, the Brown community does have access to the Journal through intermediary companies but not the more convenient and comprehensive coverage that the University provides in the case of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
The editorial’s advocacy for an upgrade of the Journal arrangement to those for the NYT and WSJ should be studied carefully by the University. Providence and Rhode Island represent the real world surrounding College Hill. The city and state will become home to multitudes of Brown graduates. These entities matter.
Newspapers appear to be transitioning to a business model that emphasizes digital subscriptions over advertising as their main source of revenues that finance newsgathering. The New York Times now has nearly 3 million digital-only subscribers. The University should consider seriously further support to its hometown newspaper, the Providence Journal, as a means of helping students learn about what goes on outside the academy and strengthening the community that is its home.
Jim Furlong ’58