Students are using free newspaper service at GW

GW administrators are calling the pilot program that provides free newspapers in residence halls a success less than a month after it started.

Barbara Porter, director of Public Affairs, said she is happy with how smoothly the program, called GWKnows, is running.

“We have bright, intelligent students here at GW, and having free, readily available newspapers is a huge advantage,” Porter said.

GWKnows places weekday editions of USA Today, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal in GW residence halls.

GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg said the program is a “grand experiment.” Students, like senior Kate Novinskie, said the newspapers’ availability helps them with their studies.

“Because I’m in the Elliott School, I need to keep tabs on everyday political and economic events, and having both The Times and The Wall Street Journal free, I think it’s great,” she said. “They both provide more in-depth coverage than local papers like The (Washington) Post.”

The Wall Street Journal is the least popular of the three papers, according to unofficial statistics provided by the Office of Budget, Finance and Personnel. According to the statistics, USA Today and The New York Times appear to be evenly read.

“It’s great that we can go downstairs and read about a wide variety of current subjects, especially considering that we don’t have to pay for it,” freshman Aaron Cohen said.

The GWKnows program applies only to students who live in GW residence halls.

“It would be nice to have them available everywhere,” said sophomore Jon Brouse, who lives off campus in a Potomac Park apartment.

Executive Director for Budget, Finance and Personnel Johnny Osborne said GW will try to “work with the newspaper companies, looking for ways to expand, possibly off campus.”

But Trachtenberg said students need to make the effort to read the newspapers.

“We’re not going to go chasing down everyone who doesn’t live in a dorm,” he said. “I do believe the program is going extremely well, demonstrated by the fact that papers keep disappearing.”

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