The Polytechnic is the official student-run newspaper of RPI. It's freely available, and funded by advertisements (including often-discarded inserts); it is not Union-funded.
The Polytechnic is not the place to go for news (that would be Google News). The only news they have are a few AP wires, and normally one or two RPI-centric stories that you didn't need the Polytechnic to know about.
They also print 4 different comics. A full 6 days worth of two professional comics (currently Dilbert and Fox Trot), and two student-drawn comics.
The comics pages also contain a Top Ten List, which is put together by the Polytechnic staff the night before publication. The list is always related to familiar RPI situations, and is the main reason most students pick up a copy.
Ignore the editorials, this is what you'll see every year:
- Join a lot of clubs to have fun
- Commons food is bad.
- Don't slack off for finals
- I need a time traveling-device to go to all my finals
The Polytechnic does an April's Fools issue every year. These vary in comedic value, but on average they're better than anything that's come out of Mad Magazine in the past few years.