As someone who has been reading the Princeton Alumni Weekly from a time when it was a bit closer to actually being a weekly, I was initially shocked by the notice (PAW July/August 2021) from Marc Fisher ’80 about Princeton’s move to take over the magazine completely. In perusing recent editions, however, this does not seem to engender much of a change. Has PAW been inadequately pc or insufficiently woke? There are, of course, letters from curmudgeons occasionally decrying some purported outrage that the University has committed, and also the Memorials section. The latter may represent something of an embarrassment because of its focus on dead white men, but mortality will take care of this in the next 20 years as more diverse alumni pass on. The former is perhaps a more difficult problem because you can never tell when some over-educated alum will raise a complaint in a way that differs from University orthodoxy, leading to further criticism, and worse, adverse comments in the national press. In the future, such letters could simply be suppressed. Fear of litigation is, of course, a proper concern for a corporate university. Perhaps the present arrangements between PAW and the University are too dangerous in this regard. A complete break may diminish the survivability of PAW as a quality publication. By allowing PAW to be presented clearly as a vehicle for Princeton to communicate with its alumni, still including class notes and obituaries, there should be an adequate and honest solution.
In Response to: PAW’s Future: A Letter to Readers