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Letter: U. support for ProJo goes beyond subscriptions

To the Editor:

Despite the clarification to the Oct. 9 editorial, “University should buy ProJo subscriptions,” subsequent letters from readers make clear the need to share additional details on the extensive access to the Providence Journal that the University already provides to students, faculty and staff.

First, through a subscription managed by NewsBank, the University Library provides full access to all current and recent editions of the Journal in digital form. Users can view each issue page by page in the same form that the newspaper is printed and sent to all subscribers. Other digital options from the Library include access to archived Journal issues dating back to 1848 and a separate subscription to ProQuest, which provides text-only access to content. For those on campus who want the tried-and-true print version, copies are available daily in both the Rockefeller and Sciences libraries. Finally, there are a number of offices and individuals on campus who purchase and manage their own subscriptions to the newspaper’s print and/or digital editions. The Office of University Communications, where I work, is just one example among many.

And while the University works intentionally to support local enterprises through purchasing when products and services align with the needs of students, faculty and staff, our more enduring impact is through partnerships and experiences with organizations in which campus community members participate. At the Journal, a number of student journalists have contributed as reporters and writers in recent months and years, including some who learned the ropes at The Herald.

For example, in recent months the Journal published a feature series on elder abuse in Rhode Island — developed  by Visiting Professor of English Tracy Breton and a team of Brown students. A year-long undertaking, the series reflected detailed, data-driven research into the experiences of elderly residents and depicted an elder care system plagued by neglect. At a time when public trust in the media has eroded, the series showed investigative journalism at its best and generated significant benefits for our students, for the Journal and for the citizens of our state.

The University values the critical role that news organizations play both locally and globally in informing citizens, promoting understanding of key issues and unearthing stories that need to be told. The University has long offered access to many news publications, but there are many ways in which the University supports first-rate journalism beyond the subscriptions that we purchase.

Brian Clark

Director of News and Editorial Development


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