Print journalism just lost another audience: Georgetown students. As the Hoya reported last week, students will no longer be receiving free copies of three national newspapers, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and USA Today due to lack of funding. The second demise of the College Readership program in two years should have both faculty and administration concerned about the deterioration of Georgetown’s intellectual environment.
Without access to free newspapers, Georgetown students, faculty, and staff lose a valuable tool to stay connected to local and national news and opinion. Administrators and the Georgetown University Student Association alike have failed to find a steady source of revenue to replace the disparate funding sources that have supported the program in previous years.
This should not be the end of free newspapers on campus. When it restarts the program, Georgetown should place papers in better places—in residence halls and in Lauinger Library, instead of outside classroom buildings—which could boost already strong readership rates. When weekend GUTS bus routes were in danger of disappearing last spring, greater cooperation between campus groups and administrators ensured that this essential student service continued to receive funding. This should be the model for newspapers.
More than their peers at other universities, Georgetown students are deeply interested in political, economic, and social issues. This increased level of curiosity creates a challenging academic community where meaningful conversations and learning happen not only in classrooms, but also in hallways, residence halls, and campus coffee shops. These enthusiastic, scholarly conversations are only possible as long as students are informed about the world around them.
It may take a fundraising event or some searching on GUSA’s part for a steady donor, but GUSA and Georgetown should make it a priority to provide newspapers as soon as next semester.