Staying Local: An analysis of DC college newspapers


Courtesy of Hamadi Belghachi

Sophia Ibrahim

American University (AU), Howard, George Washington, and Georgetown: the most well-known colleges in our lovely city. Since they are right in the heart of the nation’s capital, you would expect these college newspapers to mainly cover news. And if you’re like most people, “news,” especially in today’s political climate, is politics. However, these newspapers cover much more than just what is in the headlines.


#1. American University 

The first thing that stood out to me about AU’s newspaper, The Eagle, was the satirical column written by Bobbie Armstrong. This column takes the format of an average newspaper headline and turns it into something so completely unexpected that it would leave the reader giggling so hard they would think “darn it, I wish I had thought of that!” Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Report finds AU students most politically active, least sexually active
  • Administration commits $61 million push towards photoshopping diversity into recruitment brochures
  • Anderson Hall mice make push to unionize

All in all, The Eagle is a perfect balance of social activism, campus news, headlines, and good old-fashioned fun. If you’re headed to AU, or you simply like keeping up with the news in and around DC, check out AU’s online newspaper at 

Rating: 4/5


#2. Howard University 

Howard University’s newspaper, The Hilltop, is truly a voice for their students. To the average reader, it is very clear that African American culture is at the heart of this newspaper, which makes sense given that Howard is an HBCU. The emphasis on giving a platform to minorities is what sets The Hilltop apart from their DC college newspaper counterparts. When they give reports on national headlines that deal with the disproportion of incarceration among minorities in America, they make sure to emphasize a sense of community and moral duty for their brothers and sisters. In the Culture feature, “Art Collective Makes Waves on Campus,” the writers focus on the celebration and uplifting of Black women doing good things for their community. This is evident in the cover photograph for the piece depicting a group of young Black women smiling and having a good time at an event they organized—an image that is far and few between for mainstream news organizations—as well as a general positive tone in the questions asked and topics discussed themselves. Howard exceeds in giving minorities a voice to speak and a sense that they as people matter, which is something that we should all commend. 

Rating: 5/5


#3. George Washington University

When you first take a glance at the online edition of GW’s The Hatchet, you will notice the traditional district and nationwide news headlines, as well as articles on campus life and a wealth of opinion essays surrounding GW culture and more. But, if you look beyond the home page, chances are you’ll come across multimedia platforms, most notably their well-known podcast, “Getting to the Bottom of It” (available on Soundcloud, Apple, and Google Podcasts), and their established, eponymous YouTube channel. GW sets itself apart from their competitors with an extensive intermedia presence, not only showcasing life on campus but criticizing it as well. The Hatchet has an extremely well-rounded perspective that displays their student body’s many points of view in a multitude of methods that engages audiences of all ages and keeps up with the changing technology of the 21st century.

Rating: 4/5


#4. Georgetown University 

It’s no surprise that Georgetown’s newspaper is titled The Hoya, but what may come as a surprise to many is the lack of reports on national news in Georgetown’s newspaper. The editors excel in promoting campus-wide stories for their peers’ consumption, but fall behind in providing national headlines. One could argue that a school newspaper should and typically would focus more so on the school’s happenings as opposed to the nations, but Georgetown doing so is strange considering much of the news affecting the US is as a result of laws, or prompt the construction of laws, from DC. It is worth noting, though, that The Hoya has interviewed considerably more public servants from these branches than any other college newspaper in DC, such as Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.). Yet, where The Hoya exceeds is its priority in putting the students first. This is evident in the format of most, if not all articles, that generally follow a “this is what’s going on, and this is how it will affect you” composition. The stress of this manner makes for a deep personal connection between the writers of the newspaper and the readers, placing Georgetown’s The Hoya among many Washingtonians’ favorites.

Rating: 4/5

College newspapers are the backbone of many institutions in America, as they provide a voice for young adults in a world that might consider them “too young” to be able to do so. It is no surprise that DC colleges have the wonderful opportunity to report on much more than just campus news, given that they are right in the nation’s capital. These newspapers train college students to think analytically, evaluate multiple points of view, and convey a message to an audience; skills that are useful regardless of one’s future career path. If you are interested in honing these skills early on, you can email [email protected] and contribute to Wilson’s student voice.