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Western Kentucky University

Newspapers in the Classroom - FAQ

Newspapers in the Classroom

FAQ Directory


What is the purpose of this program?

In fall, 2004, as part of the American Democracy Project, WKU initiated a Newspapers in the Classroom project for introducing civic engagement into the curriculum. Copies of The New York Times are available to instructors and their students for use in their classrooms.

The goal is to put newspapers in the hands of students to increase their engagement with the world around them. Because of this we do NOT provide a single subscription to only the teacher.

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How does my class qualify for newspapers?

Papers are provided first to those who have clear instructional plans for them.

For ideas on how to use them review these booklets of ideas from our instructors using the Times:

At this time we have been funded fully by the Provost. That is always subject to change and in the event that occurs, decisions as to who gets the paper will be by timeliness of applying and clarity of instructional plan.

Other resources for planning and for instruction include

  • The Learning Network: Teaching & Learning with the New York Times
  • The New York Times Newsroom Navigator
  • We also have a few monographs by the NY Times available for checkout:
    • Using National Newspapers in the College Classroom. Steven Knowlton, Betsy Barefoot, Eds., The National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Student in Transition, University of S. Carolina, The New York Times
    • The NY Times College Program Series :
      The New York Times in College & University Mass Communications, Journalism and New Media.
      The New York Times in the College & University Classroom (2 copies)
      The New York Times in College & University Science Disciplines
      The New York Times in College & University Business, Economics, Marketing and Advertising
    • FaCET also has a videotape of the NY Times Master Teacher who spoke at WKU in fall 2004.
  • Newspapers in Schools: Lesson Plans to Bring Newspapers to Life in Your Classes

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What period of time does the subscription cover?

The papers are initially delivered the 2nd week of the term and are stopped on Friday of the week before the last week of classes. (The first and last week of the terms have no papers delivered).

Papers are NOT delivered on official school holidays and they are not delivered on weekends.

No Sunday papers-- sorry. Because WKU receives so many papers, the shippers are able to provide papers at various Bowling Green locations, such as Kroger's.

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What are my options for newspaper orders?

You may request as many as you need for your class (include one for yourself). Some instructors will get, for example, 5 copies for students (6 w/one for the teacher) and then have a different group review and summarize weekly. Others get one for every individual in their class.

You may get them in any combination of weekdays, from every day of the weekday (Mon-Fri) to one day/week. Science teachers often request the Tuesday edition, for example, because that has the Science Edition. Weekends are not available. If you are at an extended campus, you must plan for a delay in receiving the paper. (See below).

You may request that your students pick up their own copies (and you yours) at a central pickup point (at Garrett at the Institute for Civic and Social Responsibility) or you may choose to pick up your pile and deliver them to your students yourself.

Bi-term orders are fine-- just mark bi-term in the comment box on the online request form (

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How does paper pickup work?

Student Pickup

If you choose this option you'll receive a stack of ID cards to give to your students (and one for you). The student (and you) show this card at the Garrett Pickup Point and receive a paper if the day on your card matches what day it is.

The code on the card is M-F for Mon, Tues, Wed, Th, and Friday pick up. MW for Monday Wednesday, etc.

You may go the first day of your pick up and get your entire bundle if you want to check the process before telling your students.

The cards represent the subscription and must be considered a resource to be used carefully. A particular student gets only one card. If it is lost there are no if you have a drop, you might try to get the card back so you can give it to an add. Or don't hand them out until your enrollment has settled down.

The advantage of this approach is that the instructor leaves some of the details to the student. However, student pickup drops off drastically by the end of the term... by up to half. We periodically readjust our subscription to reflect what is actually being picked up.

Instructor Pickup

The advantage of this approach is that you know the students will have the papers for class.

You will be informed via e-mail, shortly before delivery starts, of

  • where the box that contains your papers is (most people have a box outside of their office building),
  • what the combination is for the lock on the box,
  • any changes in the process of getting papers from what you are reading here,
  • a final chance to check your order.

You'll go to the box on the requested day and remove your allotment of papers.

  • Don't take any extra as the exact number needed in a building is delivered to the box. If you do not count, you are taking papers away from another class.

    NOTE: the number of papers in a bundle varies daily and follows no particular pattern as it varies with the paper thickness which varies with ads sold and extent of news-- it is either 20 or 25. You have to count every day.

  • There should be a box cutter hanging in each box for cutting the plastic bundles apart. Please return it to the box for the next person.

Please relock the box. These are Master Lock locks and cost more than the usual lock. The locks work this way:

1. Turn right 3 times, stop at 1st number.
2. Turn left one full turn passing 1st number to stop at 2nd number.
3. Turn right and stop at 3rd number. Pull schackle

NOTE: Please report to Sally Kuhlenschmidt if the lock on your box disappears or if the box cutter has disappeared. Also, I can oil the lock if it is not working well.

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How do I order papers?

Once you've settled on your order, fill out the online request form (

Deadlines: I have to turn in subscriptions by 2 weeks before the start of delivery (the 2nd week of classes).

Please enter your correct phone number and e-mail address. This information is stored in a secure WKU server and is used by me to contact you if there is a problem. Otherwise I just have to look you up in the phone book...and when I have 40 names to go through it takes time away from individual help. Thanks.

See special instructions below if you are teaching off-campus students.

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Can I change my order?

You can always reduce your order and I appreciate hearing when you need fewer.

The closer we get to the start of the term the less likely I am to be able to add papers quickly. (I can add them within 2 weeks once the term begins). Sometimes I can shift papers from a person who needs less to one who needs more so please ask. Be sure to give me full information to save multiple e-mails back and forth.

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Can my student worker pick up my papers?

Please do NOT give out the lock combinations to students. It's okay if an Office Associate goes and gets them (if the person is agreeable) but an undergraduate or graduate student is in no position to tell a faculty member that he/she can't have "just one" out of the box. One of your colleagues has plans for that one paper.

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My class starts at 8:00 a.m. but the paper doesn't arrive at my building until 7:45. I need more time to get ready!

When planning the delivery route we do consider early starting classes...but with a large program we may not be able to get them everywhere soon enough for you. Instead, visit the New York Times on-line ( for a quick overview of the day's paper. Or visit the Library site…Search Databases…LexisNexis Academic....Upper left search box of the 6 choices.

Enter New York Times, The (should pop up) in the bottom entry area, then in top box put today's date in quotations—You'll get a list of every article in the paper.

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I'm teaching off-campus OR I'm teaching via interactive television and I want to use the paper off-campus. How does that work?

You have to figure in at least a full day's delay for the paper to get to the off-campus location, depending on when the courier runs.

For example, if you take the Monday Times, it won't arrive off campus until Tuesday afternoon, perhaps. So work backwards from when your class meets to calculate the days you need.

For your off-campus students, the papers are delivered to the regional campus office where they are sent off campus using the University courier system. When the term begins we will call each off campus location so they know why they are getting them and for which class to save them.

For your Bowling Green students, you'll have to use the instructor-pickup option (as Monday papers disappear on Tuesday), collect the papers on that day and then hold your Bowling Green papers until the day arrives.

Special form instructions: Once you've settled on your order, fill out the online request form ( separately for each of your classes.

For us to keep our records correct, you need to fill it out once for your BG class with delivery location here and then once for each of your off campus locations. For delivery location put in Garrett-xxx where xxx is the name of the off campus place.

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What are my obligations for the program?

The Times provides free copies to instructors using the Times. They ask that you mention in your syllabus that you are using the Times. This provides accountability to their auditors for the contribution. (We send them a copy of your TopNet syllabi as documentation).

Periodically we will solicit information about how the program is working in your classroom and/or ask you to share your ideas with other faculty. We ask you to perform some type of assessment so you know what is working and what could be enhanced.

We encourage you to present on the program at your professional conferences and to please let us know if you have a scholarly work as a result of this project.

We ask that you respect the subscription process as it is very, very important to the Times as they are audited on the accuracy of their subscriptions and we are charged as well. Their ability to offer this program depends on the accuracy of our subscriptions records. They are audited externally for the accuracy of the reports.

You are to only give these to students in your classes as per your subscription. If someone begs for one from you, suggest that there will probably be one left by a student after class that they could have or FaCET will have one they can come and read.

Please do NOT add in an extra subscription for your department. That is not appropriate for the program's goals.

If you have a student drop, then the subscription terminates and that paper is unused and to be discarded, not handed over to someone else. We get to correct our subscription order every few weeks to be more accurate and to save money. The University gets credit ($$ back) for unused copies, so giving one away to someone not subscribed is a genuine cost.

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What about recycling?

There are 2 types of "old" Times.

  • Type A are those not picked up by a subscriber. These have to be counted by us and they should be placed back in the delivery box where we will recycle them.
  • Type B are those read by a subscriber and then discarded--they are used. Used papers should NOT be returned to our box but may be recycled in any manner you choose. If you want us to recycle them, then place them outside of our box.

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There was a great article 3 weeks ago for a topic this week. Wish I had it!

FaCET gets a single subscription and we save an entire semester's worth, only recycling after the end of term. Come on over and feel free to look for it. (Just keep the stack in order and leave the copy when you go).

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What are the special topics for days of the week?

As of Spring 2012 they are:

  • Monday: Business section focuses on Information industries
  • Tuesday: Science Times
  • Wednesday: Dining
  • Thursday: Styles (fashion); Home (decorative arts); Business section focuses on technology
  • Friday: Weekend Arts (films, shows, art exhibitions, cultural and leisure activities).

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Can I have some other newspaper for my class?

Sorry, but this is partly funded by the New York Times as part of their involvement in the American Democracy Project (ADP). The linkage to civic engagement reflects WKU's Quality Enhancement Plan and thus the rest is funded out of the Provost's Office. At this time there is no other newspaper affiliated with the ADP. In addition, the New York Times is broadly applicable. Papers specific to one field are not logistically possible to handle.

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What are other benefits of this program?

  • The Times may be able to provide prizes for your students relating to the use of the Times in instruction. Contact us.
  • When our combined orders are over 500 papers we can have a Master Teacher presenter.
  • We can get other speakers for campus, such as Pulitizer Prize winning journalists.
  • The Times provides prizes for student contests relating to the American Democracy Project.
  • Support for campus Constitution Week events.

Contact Sally Kuhlenschmidt with requests. Do not go to the Times contact. He or she is overwhelmed with schools and it is easier on them to funnel such matters through one office.

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How does delivery occur?

The papers start out at a printing plant somewhere in Ohio and are flown to Tennessee about midnight. All those persons delivering papers converge on the plane and grab their allotment. The truck is driven to Murray and to WKU arriving about 6:30 a.m. Our delivery person, Chuck Glass, meets the truck and counts out what is needed for each building then drives a route around campus, dodging construction and depositing the papers in the various boxes. In the past the papers were typically all delivered by 7:30 am. There were a few days each semester when the papers didn't arrive, e.g., there was a snow storm somewhere in the chain, or the truck had a flat tire. If that happens, I'll get an email out as soon as possible.

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What about online versions?

Over time the New York Times has provided various versions of online access. The WKU libraries, however, does get a subscription to the paper and you can direct your students to that resource for no cost. (Contact the Library for directions). What are the differences between print and WKU online access? In May 2011 I had a student worker compare the two.  All types of articles are available in both formats. The ads vary from online to print. The print version seems to have more pictures than the comparable online article. But the online pictures are in color versus black/white for the print. Online editorials may offer a photo of the author that is not present in print. The online version allows for search options that take you directly to a specific section.

Here are the directions to the New York Times as of Fall 2012 New York Times Directions.

The Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching -- Phone (270) 745-6508 -- Fax (270) 745-6145.
Location: 1783 Chestnut Street, Bowling Green, KY 42101.
Mailing Address: 1906 College Heights Blvd #11095, Bowling Green, KY 42101-1095.
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