Print's precarious future

"If you've got that relentless essential curiosity and you enjoy telling stories, then go into journalism; if you don't, then go to law school," joked Evan Thomas, editor-at-large for Newsweek, as he encouraged students at a Nov. 28 lecture about the future of print media.
Jim Kelly ’76, managing editor of Time Inc., joined Thomas as a speaker at the event, sponsored by the University Press Club, where the two journalists addressed the title question, "How Dead is Print?"
"It's hard to believe that most people, 25 years from now, will be reading the material you find in a book on some kind of screen," said Kelly, who believes that journalism eventually will be completely electronic.
Thomas, a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton, said he hopes that there will always be some form of printed news. He also highlighted the disparity between online and print advertising rates as the biggest economic problem for both newspapers and magazines.
Publications cannot charge the same rates for Internet ads that they charge for print ads, Thomas explained, and easy-access to free Internet news further reduces the revenue that is used to pay for circulating issues.
"It's increasingly hard to find people to pay for in print what they can get free online," Kelly added. "Is print dying, then? I guess it's changing."
Though both Kelly and Thomas were optimistic about the future of good journalism in general, they did address the changing nature of telling stories.
"Readers don't just want to use content, but they also want a hand in creating the content," Kelly said, noting the prevalence of blogs. "This is about reacting and interacting with the people that write and edit."
Overall, Thomas said he was confident that "what will never go out of business is the basic journalistic value of being relentlessly curious, wanting to get the story, and being able to tell the story in an animated way. We will have that until our dying day." By Julia Osellame ’09

Brushing off the Big East blues

The Princeton men's basketball team dropped to 2-5 after losses to Seton Hall and Rutgers Nov. 28 and Dec. 1, but the Tigers stayed close with both Big East foes, giving coach Sydney Johnson ’97 reason for optimism.
"We've got something," Johnson said after the Seton Hall game, a 65-55 loss. "These guys are committed, and I like that. A couple loose balls here, another shot there, and we might turn the corner. So in one way you feel good, but obviously we're left wanting."
Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez also saw something in this year's Princeton team. Last season, the Pirates demolished the Tigers, 79-41, in a game that was decided well before halftime. This year, Princeton trailed most of the way again but stayed close, narrowing the gap to eight points with a minute remaining.
"I think that these kids look like they're having fun playing for [Johnson]," Gonzalez said. "They're playing with a little more confidence, a little more excitement, a little more energy. I think he's going to do a nice job and be a very good coach for Princeton."
The Tigers play at Evansville (Ind.) Dec. 5 and at Penn State Dec. 12 before returning home to play Manhattan at Jadwin Gym Dec. 16. The Manhattan game is part of a women's and men's doubleheader. The Princeton women open the action against Syracuse at 2 p.m., and the men tip off at 5 p.m.

Alumni in the news

On Dec. 3, former Major League Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn ’48 became the first Princetonian (and the fourth commissioner) elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Kuhn was baseball's youngest commissioner when he took the job in 1969 and presided over the game for 25 years. He died last March at age 80. ... Mellody Hobson ’91, president of Ariel Capital Management, is one of 65 "achievers under 40" named to Black Enterprise magazine's 2007 Hot List Nov. 26. In addition to young standouts in business and medicine, the list includes entertainers and pro sports stars such as Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Will Smith, and Tiger Woods. ... Marketplace, the business radio program from American Public Media, interviewed eBay CEO Meg Whitman ’77 about the Web site's future and its role in holiday shopping as part of the "Conversations from the Corner Office" series Nov. 29. ... Cornel West *80 joined Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on stage at a Nov. 29 fundraiser at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. The Associated Press reported that West defended Obama's civil rights credentials, saying that the Senator's candidacy "comes at an incredibly powerful moment in the year 2007, and we don't expect him to be Marcus Garvey ... or Martin Luther King."

Carols for a cause


The Princeton University Chapel Choir has joined seven other local singing ensembles to create a new CD, "A Princeton Christmas: For the Children of Africa." The project aims to raise funds for the school feeding campaign of the United Nations World Food Program in Africa. The Chapel Choir contributed six tracks to the album, ranging from the classic "The First Noel" to the lesser-known "Mariabaen," a traditional carol from Iceland. Additional information is available at the Princeton Christmas Web site.

Tigers on the McCarter stage

Two alumni actors are performing in McCarter Theatre's annual production of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, which opened Dec. 2 and runs through Dec. 23. Karron Graves ’99 plays Scrooge's sister Fan, and Jed Peterson ’06 is a member of the ensemble. Graves performed in Coram Boy on Broadway and has appeared in several off-Broadway productions and television shows. Peterson started his stage career as a young dancer in the New York City Ballet production of The Nutcracker and served as the artistic director of Princeton Summer Theater as an undergraduate.