At GW, where political science, international affairs and mass communication thrive, newspapers act as textbooks. Current events supplement our class readings and provide fodder for seminar discussions. Where our history books fail to remain up-to-date, newspapers provide a present-day foil.
GW needs its newspapers.
And up until this year, students had them. For most of the last decade, the community could pick up complimentary copies of The New York Times, The Washington Post and USA Today in their residence halls and campus hubs like Ivory Tower basement and the Marvin Center. The Collegiate Readership Program provided the student body with a vital resource and that’s why it’s so shocking that the University unceremoniously terminated the service this fall.
Administrators said the reason the University shuttered the Collegiate Readership Program was because of budgetary reasons, decreased interest and the general rising trend of online news consumption. But this service was valued by much of the student body and provided an imperative education for the community.
If interest in the complimentary newspapers truly had decreased, then the University didn’t need to swing all the way toward ending the program altogether. The University could purchase fewer copies to save costs. These copies could even be distributed solely in major campus centers such as the Marvin Center, Ivory Tower and Thurston Hall.
If administration is going to point to heightened traffic on digital news then it should at least provide online access to The New York Times.
Providing access to the news is one of the most direct methods by which the University can educate the student body about current events. The University shouldn’t completely eliminate this important learning resource.
The type of students who attend GW read the newspaper. Keeping up with the contents of The Washington Post means knowing what’s in our backyard. Being knowledgeable about world affairs is simply completing a homework assignment.
Whether it is in a decreased form or not, the Collegiate Readership Program is a service that must be reinstated on campus. It’s part of the GW education.