Letters to the Editor

Keep the newspapers
As students at a University reputed for its strong media and public affairs programs, we are deeply troubled by GW’s decision to eliminate the free newspaper program next year. GW will make a terrible mistake if it goes through with this plan.
Although the administration reports only 22 to 24 percent of the newspapers are read, they should look at a more careful analysis of those statistics. While GW Reads isn’t as popular in freshman dorms, upperclassman dorms paint a different picture. For example, all of The New York Times and Washington Post issues are gone by noon on a typical day in The Aston and New Hall.
Newspapers are essential readings for class discussions in many GW departments, including some of its most popular: political science, international affairs, political communication and journalism. In many classes, reading the papers daily is a requirement. Some professors even ask students to look up various articles during class. Although online newspapers are an option, this eliminates the possibility for class discussion about articles that appear the day of class.
The administration must reconsider its decision and try to find a compromise aside from the total elimination of the program. Reducing the number of papers delivered or limiting delivery to a few central campus locations should be considered. If this is still too much of a financial burden, GW should try to negotiate a reduced subscription rate for The Post or The Times for students. A daily purchase of The Post, for example, would amount to at least $100 a year – a price too high for most students.
Moreover, the administration needs to evaluate how this decision will impact students of the School of Media and Public Affairs. The Wall Street Journal is delivered to students in the School of Business; if the value of newspapers is recognized for SB classrooms, it should also apply to SMPA students.
Newspapers are the tools to success in today’s information society. Newspaper readers are more active citizens, informed consumers and lifelong learners. Having access to newspapers allows for various types of students – the type who would never take initiative to look up an article online – to read the news daily. If GW wishes to truly prepare its students for the demands of the 21st century, it needs to promote newspaper readership with the free program.
We encourage students and faculty to sign a petition at www.petitiononline.com/gwreads/petition.html to show their support for the newspaper program.
-Executive Board, GW Society of Professional Journalists
Change debate
I find it remarkable that the majority of the debate going back and forth today concerning who should be elected in November surrounds whether John Kerry threw medals or ribbons onto the White House lawn in an antiwar protest with other veterans 33 years ago. If we want to look at the history of the candidates to assess whose past behavior reflects good leadership qualities, why don’t we just look back 28 years when George W. Bush was pulled over for drunk driving as a 30-year-old in Maine.
Kerry’s people have been trying to say that what happened decades ago is unimportant. They shouldn’t do that. Let’s see who looks like a better leader based on what they did a few decades ago – the man who did his civic duty and spoke out against an embarrassing war or the guy who engaged in drinking and driving, threatening the lives of everyone on the road. Who strikes the American people as a more responsible person based on this comparison? We know what Kerry has been up to his whole life; it’s Bush who would rather not discuss his childhood ventures (childhood at age 30 that is).
I would strongly urge both candidates to debate the following issues: accidentally invading a country (Iraq), the first presidential term to witness negative job growth since Hoover, and a declining dollar that is going to make studying abroad in London way too expensive for me. These issues matter to people, and these are problems that one of these guys will be expected to fix. Convincing the American people that they have a solution sounds like a much more compelling reason for me to vote for someone than a debate over ribbons and medals.
(Note: Ribbons and medals are symbolically synonymous; it is common to refer to ribbons as medals.)
-Timothy Kaldas, junior

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