The Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA) launched a new initiative to provide students with free subscriptions to national newspapers and media outlets.
The GUSA initiative hopes to give Georgetown students access to the news sections of The New York Times and the Washington Post free of charge starting in the Fall 2023 semester. Its primary goal is to work with university administration and the library to connect students with national and international publications while alleviating the associated financial burden of subscription costs.
The university currently offers access to both papers through library databases, but Dean of the Library Harriette Hemmasi said access is limited to articles from print editions and does not include online-only or multimedia news content.
Hemmasi said the library staff is happy students are showing interest in gaining access to these publications, and that the library is working with students on making that a reality.
“We recognize the importance of connecting students and faculty with the most current information,” Hemmasi wrote to The Hoya. “We at the library are pleased to be able to respond to student interest like this.”
Ann Oldenburg, journalism professor and assistant director of Georgetown’s journalism program, said she appreciates GUSA’s efforts to give students access to these media outlets.
“I’m thrilled to hear it,” Oldenburg told The Hoya. “In all of our journalism courses we encourage students to read, read, read the news.”
Though the university has not yet approved the publications, Camber Vincent (SFS ’24), the current speaker of the GUSA senate and GUSA president-elect, said student leaders are advocating for The New York Times and the Washington Post because students have shown the most interest in those papers.
“In a previous newsletter, students overwhelmingly chose those two as the most important in regards to ones they would prefer, ones they didn’t have, and ones the professors assigned,” Vincent told The Hoya.
Oldenburg said she approves of the outlets GUSA has chosen to focus on.
“Those are trusted, longtime sources of information,” Oldenburg said. “The Washington Post is our local paper after all, so we definitely should have access to it.”
Sebastian Zuba (SFS ’26) said he is excited by the prospect of having free access to these papers’ news sections.
“I think it’ll be a great opportunity to make access to information easier, and make Georgetown students even more connected to global news,” Zuba told The Hoya.
Vincent said GUSA has done all it can to advocate for the program by conveying student interest to the administration and providing the university with specific publications.
“It’s kind of fully out of our hands,” Vincent said. “It just has to go through the administrative bureaucracy and all of those steps for them to solidify deals with the Washington Post, a deal with The New York Times.”
A university spokesperson said GUSA will play an important role in providing student input throughout the process of making the initiative a reality.
“We look forward to continuing to meet with GUSA leaders as they gather information to inform this proposal,” the spokesperson wrote to The Hoya. “Student input into administrative decisions, particularly those that impact the student experience, is vital.”
If the initiative is successful, Vincent said GUSA will work to expand the program to include other media sources.
“Our goal is to see what the results of the first two are, how utilized they are, students’ response to them,” Vincent said. “If it seems to be going well, if it seems we can get a discount for further publications, we’re going to work to get more publications.”
Oldenburg said students should make an effort to take full advantage of the new initiative if it is successful.
“Start with something you like to read,” Oldenburg said. “We talk about a Georgetown bubble for students, it’s like that too when we’re reading newspapers. Get out of your bubble, read things you might not normally read, read a section you might not normally read.”