Walking along the path from the Leavey Center toward Epicurean & Company, you may have seen The Hoya’s newsstand isolated within the Henle Village construction site, shrouded behind a chain link fence. The blue stand sits on a small sliver of concrete, just inches away from descending into a pit of dirt.
I doubt that this was intentional, but it does present an apt metaphor for the perceived value of journalism — especially student journalism — on Georgetown’s campus.
An easy solution would have been to move the stand to the other side of the fence, where the papers would be accessible to students, but like attitudes toward journalism on campus, this simple fix appears to be an afterthought.
Since joining The Hoya the fall of my first year at Georgetown, I have heard over and over again that I am wasting my time working for a student newspaper with little readership. My peers and family members have even warned me against pursuing a career in journalism, saying that I will make no money and will have poor job security in the future.
Further, in conversations with friends, I have learned that many don’t read or even watch the news. They say that they don’t have the time to keep up with current events that are often very upsetting or disturbing.
To me — and I imagine many other journalists — this is why I am interested in the profession in the first place. I feel a calling to pursue the truth, to hold those in power accountable and to communicate the news to the masses. I deeply believe that being informed about the world around us leaves us all better off; it is something we all have a duty to do.
The Hoya’s slogan is “Read the Paper” — and it’s our slogan for a reason.
I’m not saying this to boost my own ego or to make my fellow staffers feel good. I really do believe that remaining informed members of our campus community makes Georgetown a better place, something we should all prioritize.
Students come to Georgetown to experience life outside of the classroom, and The Hoya is a way for campus members to learn about what is going on in their Georgetown community — whether that be countering transphobia outside the front gates, protesting at the Supreme Court or advocating for low-income Hoyas.
“Read the Paper” also applies to national and local media.
U.S. news consumption has plummeted in recent years. Broadcast viewership, visits to digital media sites and interactions with news articles on social media platforms have all decreased. This comes as Americans’ trust in the media has deteriorated.
Faith in the news is at an all-time low in the United States, according to a 2022 Gallup poll. Only 7% of Americans say they hold “a great deal” of trust in the media. 38% say they have no trust in radio, TV or newspapers. In fact, for the first time, the number of Americans who say they have no trust outweighs those who say they have a fair amount or great deal of trust in the media, combined.
Much of this skepticism toward the news is rooted in the rhetoric of former U.S. President Donald Trump, who has called the media the “enemy of the American people.” Trump has also coined the phrase “fake news” about stories he thinks are unflattering about himself.
Although unrelated to Trump’s rhetoric, the Washington Post’s motto “Democracy Dies in Darkness” speaks to the importance of the press and its oversight of places and people in power, specifically at the government level.
Staying informed is not always easy, especially for students who already have so much on their minds. Despite this, it is essential for everyone on campus to do so.
Everyone has asked me if I’m excited to finish my term as editor-in-chief and have more hours to myself each week. If I’m being honest, I have never minded the countless long hours spent in Leavey 421, the Thursday nights that end up as 6 a.m. Friday mornings and the never-ending slew of Slack messages. Closing the door on Leavey 421 will be difficult, but I will always cherish the memories I made with my best friends.
Read the paper.
Caitlin McLean is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences and current editor-in-chief of The Hoya.