Bard Free Press
April 2012 cover of the Bard Free Press
|Headquarters||Annandale-on-Hudson, New York|
The Bard Free Press (the Free Press) is a monthly college newspaper published by students of Bard College, a private liberal arts college in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. The paper has a circulation of about 2,000, and is the only student newspaper at Bard. The paper was founded in 2000, by former student editors of The Observer, Bard's newspaper at the time. The Free Press and the Bard Observer merged in 2008.
The Free Press is organized into five sections: News, Culture, Opinion, Sports, and Bardiverse, which focuses on Bard's global campuses and early college programs. Bardiverse includes writers from Al-Quds University in Palestine, the American University of Central Asia, the European College of Liberal Arts in Berlin, Smolny College in St. Petersburg, and the Bard High School Early College programs in New York and New Jersey.
The newspaper does not accept outside advertisements or announcements from student clubs or programs. The newspaper is financed through Bard's Convocation Fund, a collective percentage of each student's tuition. Like all charter clubs at the college, the paper's budget is determined annually by an elected student body, and cannot be reduced during the biannual budget forum.
In 2013, the Bard Free Press won a Best in Show title from the Associated Collegiate Press. In 2014, the Free Press received first place for design and second place for feature story by the New York Press Association awards. The judges awarding the design prize said of the publication, "Brilliant design and layout. It felt like reading art."
The first issue of the Bard Free Press was printed on March 14, 2000. At the time, another student newspaper already existed, The Observer, which had been a campus publication since 1961. According to the Free Press Mission of Purpose, the paper "was founded by former members of the Bard Observer staff––the managing editor, section editors and contributors––who were dissatisfied with the quality of student journalism at Bard." Initially, the Free Press focused on world news, U.S. politics, and student editorials. In 2003, SPIN Magazine recognized the Free Press as the “Best Campus Publication” in their First Annual SPIN Campus Awards.
The Free Press merged with the Observer in 2008, in conjunction with a major redesign that departed from a traditional tabloid format.
In 2012, the Free Press launched an online site, used to publish articles, videos, student artwork, and a full issue archive. The paper hosts the site, and uses a domain, independent from Bard College.
The Free Press is 32-pages, with the front, back, and centerfold in color. The paper is published once a month, and distributed throughout Bard's campus, and nearby towns Tivoli and Red Hook, New York.
The front and back cover are reserved for current student artwork, and includes no text or correlation to the articles inside. Since 2012, the back cover has also included featured tweets by Bard students.