Alumni read PAW from the back to the front. That’s one of the first things I heard when I became PAW editor 14 years ago — that readers scour the Class Notes and Memorials sections first, before turning to the articles.
Is that how you read PAW? Or do you find Class Notes less urgent today, since you can keep up with classmates’ lives on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat?
In the fall, PAW conducted a reader survey to help us understand how we’re doing and how we might improve. We were happy to see that alumni still read and enjoy this publication, now 117 years old. But the survey results, and other conversations with alumni, made us keenly aware of the changing media environment and of generational differences when it comes to what readers want to see in the magazine.
Younger alumni tended to be more interested in the front of the book — the letters and articles — than in the back — the Class Notes and Memorials. Older alumni tended to love those back-of-the-book offerings and have a fondness for sports. Older Princetonians are less likely to desire articles on controversial topics such as race and politics — but younger alumni often say: Bring them on.
It’s impossible to generalize about any demographic group, and I know plenty of older alumni — including a member of the Class of 1939 who follows PAW on Facebook —– who defy the common wisdom. We’ve also heard from recent graduates who do, indeed, read from the back. How about you? What would you like us to cover more or less frequently? As the PAW staff prepares to meet this summer to discuss our coverage for next year, we’d love to hear what you’d like to see in this magazine — front, back, and in every page in-between. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PAW is lucky to have the talents and good humor of student interns and contributors each year. Three of the best graduated June 6: Juliette Hackett, Mary Hui, and Jennifer Shyue. All three contributed to our May 17 cover story about favorite places on campus, and Mary’s new video about Kyle Lang ’19, who is running from coast to coast this summer, is on PAW’s website. We will miss them, but we’re already thinking of assignments they might take on as alumni.
This is PAW’s final issue of the academic year; we return Sept. 13. As the song goes, see you in September.