In just over a week, The New York Times has snagged the attention of enough donors to help sponsor over 200,000 student subscriptions, giving students in underfunded U.S. public schools and districts free digital access to the Times’ content.
The donation site says the Times prioritizes giving subscriptions to “public schools that have inquired about providing NYT subscriptions for students but are unable to find the funding.”
The Times’ sponsor-a-subscription program launched February 9. Individual contributions have ranged from $4 to $20,000, according to the company.
The Times matches each contribution to double the number of students who receive a digital subscription. The 200,000 number includes those matched students.
The subscription also gives teachers and students access to the Times’ Learning Network, an archive of classroom resources like lesson plans, writing prompts, news quizzes and student contests based on content published on the Times’ site.
The program was inspired by a surge in contributions and interest that it received from readers in November, who wanted to buy subscriptions in bulk for other readers, the company said.
The Times added 276,000 digital-only subscriptions in the last three months of 2016, following the election of President Donald Trump. The publisher now has a total digital and print circulation of over 3 million.
Two hundred thousand new subscribers draws the Times closer to reaching its ambitious goal of 10 million digital subscribers. It also helps the publisher reach a new following of young readers.
Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the Times’ publisher, stated: “We’re delighted that the funds these readers are providing will help to support the journalism that will empower the next generation of readers as they come to better understand the world around them.”
In addition, the newspaper has a program called “The New York Times in School,” a site for K-12 teachers designed to help them teach using the Times’ printed newspaper, the Replica Edition and its site.
Earlier this month, The New York Times sweetened the deal by offering free Spotify Premium access to those who sign up for a one-year digital subscription, an effort to attract younger readers to pay for the newspaper.At the time, the Times’ CRO Meredith Kopit Levien told Bloomberg that the company was focusing more seriously on “how many young people we have engaging with us, and how we deepen those relationships.”