It has the largest circulation of any newspaper in America. It is consistently listed among the most widely disseminated papers in the world. It has received 33 Pulitzer Prizes and started publication in 1889. As you can see, The Wall Street Journal should need no introduction - except maybe on the University of Richmond's campus.
During my first three years here, The WSJ was available every day to students in the Robins School of Business. To some, this was perhaps superfluous. To many business students, and even Arts and Sciences ones like myself, it was a vital part of our day. Everyone has their quirks and strange practices, and mine just so happened to be enjoying my WSJ every day.
But now, the B-School has stopped placing the WSJ in its lobbies for students and instead has relegated subscriptions of the paper to a small group of finance students. This paper is inaccessible to the general student body, besides the occasional clandestine klepto.
Why should you care? This issue goes beyond a simple numbers game regarding subscriptions on campus. The reality is that the distribution of papers was already uneven before the scale back in WSJs. The Collegiate Readership Program places newspapers in all the major dorms, as well as the library and numerous other buildings around campus. The papers included are The New York Times, USA Today and The Washington Post.
The WSJ should be featured alongside these papers across the campus - and here's why. First, the WSJ is by far the most accomplished paper in terms of reporting on financial and economic markets. Given the pertinence of the recent global financial struggles, students should have easy access to a publication that has documented this situation so thoroughly.
Sure, other papers have talked about the economic downturn, but the WSJ is unparalleled in the tracking and trending it does in its pages with economic variables, stocks, etc. The recession is the most important issue of recent times, and students deserve the proper tools to increase their knowledge about the complex and nuanced subject.
Second, it's no secret that the editorial pages of newspapers often have vastly different ideological leanings. The New York Times is probably the most famous forum for the publication of liberal op-ed pieces in America. The Washington Post and USA Today similarly provide a generally liberal slant in their opinion pieces. A good counter to these papers is the WSJ, which has a historic and widely respected free-market and individualistic viewpoint.
Finally, and as already alluded to, the WSJ is one of the most famous and well-respected papers in America. It makes sense to feature this paper alongside other media titans such as the NYT. If the school is concerned about budgetary issues, then there are some candidates for the chopping block.
USA Today is somewhat less intellectual than the WSJ and NYT, but admittedly is still a very widely circulated paper. Nonetheless, as college students we probably can handle more rigorous papers, and I think it would be hard to find someone capable of advancing a strong argument that USA Today is superior to either the NYT or WSJ.
But perhaps the real odd one out is The Washington Post. The Post perhaps provides a window into our nation's capital and the lawmaking at work there - but this is likely an exaggerated claim that lacks any substantive grounding.
To reiterate my point in a different way, it makes no sense for a college campus, composed of some of our country's brightest young minds, to limit access to a paper as prestigious as the WSJ. Our teachers constantly encourage us to challenge our minds and to intellectually engage ourselves outside the confines of the classroom. What better way to do this than by reading a variety of newspapers on a regular basis?
Richmond needs to bring back the WSJ in order to create a more balanced sampling of media publications on campus. Frugality is not an excuse for stunting access to knowledge and information.
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