Reading a printed newspaper with a morning cup of coffee may invoke images of yesteryear, yet it is an easy image to find on UC Berkeley’s campus.
Every week since 2007, Monday through Friday, 16 front pages from newspapers as far as Malaysia and as near as Washington, DC, are printed oversize, then posted outside the Free Speech Movement Cafe and Moffitt Library to share world news with UC Berkeley students and visitors as they pass by.
The papers — predominantly printed in English — highlight national and international coverage from all continents, however African and South American papers are underrepresented among the collection.
“The choices we have limited are by what is available in PDF format that same day on a regular basis,” Beth Dupuis, associate librarian, said. “We have limited choices in some regions.”
The pages are selected from a list of 16 papers curated by the campus subject librarian, Jim Ronningen. When no newspaper is available for that day, staff from the UC Library Copy Center may choose an alternate from the list; occasionally, the previous day’s paper may stay up another day.
Despite increasing access to electronic news, students still hold the printed papers in high regard.
“I read the news through my Facebook and Twitter feeds. I probably do a lot of reading on politics right now,” said Courtney Brousseau, a first-year intended political science student. “I just don’t ever stop here to read but it’s a good reminder that we’re not the only country that matters.”
International newspapers offer reporting that often does not make U.S. coverage. On the curated list, only three spots may be filled by papers from North America; the majority come from Asia, which enables the coverage more representative of the globe’s population
“Everytime I pass by I look at them, I scan over some of China Daily — I’m an international student — or (the) Guardian,” said Yuhan Lu, campus third-year political economy and social welfare student. “It’s how I first learned of (the) Zika Virus and Ebola.”
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The first frontpage display — a triangular prism holding six international front pages positioned at the entrance to the Free Speech Movement Cafe — was done in partnership with the Graduate School of Journalism.
In 2007, cases for 10 newspapers were added in memory of emeritus librarian Anne Grodzins Lipow, a 1961 graduate of the master’s of library science program, now known as the School of Information.
Lipow’s legacy on campus is large: in her 30 years as a librarian, she wrote for academic journals on the future of libraries and librarians, including a 1986 article anticipating an integrated system to research, find books and borrow between libraries.
Steve Silberstein, a UC Berkeley graduate and former head of the campus Library Systems Office, dedicated the 10-paper display to his wife, Anne. Silberstein worked for the campus, helping to build the digitization of the library’s card catalogue system, and helped fund the creation of the Free Speech Movement Cafe.
Amid the free speech, the newspapers come with a cost. Each front page costs approximately $30 to print, adding up to $2,400 for the week — all funded by Silberstein’s donation.
Day-old papers travel to the Newspaper and Microforms Library, and two days a week are shared with the Graduate School of Journalism. In January, the “News Flashback” was added, where the curators include a paper from 100 years ago to the news wall once a week.
“I’ve been reading the news since I was a teenager,” said Tri Nguyen, a third-year economics transfer student. “I think that news is very important but we have to be very selective.”
He commented on how having many sources available resembles his own process to create an informed opinion: reading coverage from CNN, Reuters or Russia Today.
Contact Pamela Larson at [email protected]]