Editor, the Gauntlet,
Every Thursday I watch your delivery boys pile up dozens of fresh copies of the Gauntlet's latest issue all over campus, yet every Wednesday piles of these same papers lay untouched, destined for the garbage--or more optimistically, a recycling bin. I know any respectable newspaper wants its readership to be ever-growing, but merely increasing your output will not persuade more students to pick up your paper. It will, however, eat up innumerable trees and ink that could be better used, or heck, not ever used at all! Who decides these numbers and how are they calculated?
Students could also help this problem by returning their copy to the newsstand when they are finished. To me, a second-hand copy is just as good as a new one. This being my last semester at U of C, I can confidently say I have never seen so many copies go out every week. From me, and from the trees, how about taking one in the ego and printing a few less copies? Or even a lot less copies?
[Editor's note: The Gauntlet cut printing from 12,000 to 10,000 in September 2006, so there are less copies going out each week than any time in the past decade. Yes, there are often a lot of returns, and yes, it hurts our ego--and the environment.
Our paper is printed on recycled paper, and all returns are recycled. We use vegetable oil-based ink.
We keep records of our pick-up rates at each stand. On any given week, some stands may experience full pick-up, while others do not. This is not consistent on a weekly basis. We have been doing our best to adjust this on a monthly basis, but it takes a lot of time to gather accurate data on a long-term scale. As well, some weeks the content drives pick-up far higher. Big U of C stories will see over 90 per cent pick-up. When stories like this break, our responsibility is to provide a paper for the U of C's 30,000 population. It can be hard to predict, so we err on the side of distributing to a wider range.
Anyway, I agree with your concern, and it is something we are always looking at. With the increased use of online technology and other changes, I'd be surprised if our print total doesn't diminish further as we continue to streamline our distribution system.
- Chris Beauchamp]