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Someone Donated $1 Million to Fund <i>New York Times</i> Subscriptions for Students

An anonymous donor contributed $1 million to a pool that will fund free access to NYTimes.com for students across the U.S., the New York Times Company said in a press release, Thursday.

The $1 million donation was one of more than 15,000 collected by the Times since it launched its “sponsor a subscription” program on Feb. 3. Besides news subscriptions, the Times plans to offer sponsored public schools a range of educational programs such as interactive ‘webinars’ with journalists. So far, 1.3 million students have benefited from the program.

“The genesis of the ‘sponsor a subscription’ program came directly from readers who approached us with the desire to help support independent journalism and promote news literacy after the U.S. elections,” said Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., publisher of the Times.

President Trump has lashed out at various news outlets but has had a particularly tempestuous relationship with the Times. Despite his fondness for the “failing” moniker and false claim that the Times is losing readers, Trump’s tweet-storms appear to have inadvertently whipped up support for a paper CEO Mark Thompson said is facing “significant headwinds.”

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The Times saw its digital subscriptions boosted by 41,000 within one week of election day and added more than 276,000 new sign-ups to its paywall plan in Q4 2016—that’s more additions than in the whole of 2013 and 2014 combined. However, plummeting advertising revenues continue to hurt the paper—although the Times is better placed than most according to media mogul Warren Buffett, who recently said only it and the Wall Street Journal were sure to ride out the challenges facing the newspaper business.