The power of journalism lies in its ability to tell people’s stories and elevate their voices. But with that power comes great responsibility — a responsibility to the truth, and a responsibility to the people. This is why such a passionate, committed staff collectively pours innumerable hours, words, images, and ideas into this publication almost every day, even if their faces are unknown to most of our readers. This year, though, I hope to provide a face for this paper.
The ‘Prince’ has long played a vital role in our campus community. I am proud of how it has grown, not only since my freshman fall, but since its founding in 1876 (just take a look at our archives). Yet, in a constantly evolving and increasingly competitive field, our paper still needs to change in order to become a better paper for the greater Princeton community.
In this letter, I am laying out our values, our goals, and our vision for the 141st Managing Board. First and foremost, we promise that we will not compromise our commitment to the truth, to the facts, to high standards for fair, accurate, ethical, and just reporting — in fact, we intend to raise them. Even as the line between journalist and advocate seems to blur, our values will not.
Yet reporting “the facts” is not enough. In order for this paper to become a more active part of the community, we must not merely report facts, but we must also foster a more open discussion about the role, ethics, and goals of journalism. This discussion will take place not only within our organization, but also with a wide array of individuals and student groups, including activists and advocates, minority and cultural groups, political, religious, and social justice organizations, musicians and artists, engineers and entrepreneurs, athletes, faculty, and administrators. It isn’t only about the voices we can already hear, but it is also about drawing attention to those which we cannot. We hope to rebuild trust by expanding our coverage and personally interfacing with our readers and partners.
The ‘Prince’ will not serve simply as a platform for one agenda or another. It is our inherent responsibility to serve as a platform for a plurality of voices and experiences. We will not fear controversy in pursuing the truth, and we will invite dialogue and debate. We invite everyone to write, take photos, illustrate, and design, as well as to provide comments, questions, and criticism. Herein lies the key to a better paper.
We will promote that plurality through the new structure of the Editorial Board. The Board’s leadership and members, mission, and policies are public on our website, in order to make transparent the Board's role as an autonomous body and platform for unadulterated, multilateral discussion on campus.
We recognize the need for greater diversity in the newsroom — diversity in staff, in talent, in ideas, in media, in medium, and most importantly, in audience — to accurately reflect the community we serve. We need more journalists of color; we need more underrepresented voices in our newsroom. “Diversity” isn’t just another buzzword or number for us; the lack of diversity, in terms of leadership and readership, in newsrooms across the country is a problem that demands our attention.
A large part of that issue are the barriers to entry in the field of journalism. For many, the greatest barrier for taking up photography is financial, and the greatest barrier to writing is a lack of prior experience, or a lack of confidence in one’s writing abilities. We hope to break down these barriers by offering equipment, training, mentorship, and support.
Another aspect of this is the need for relevant content. Journalism demands innovation, creativity, and collaboration. We intend to pursue more data journalism, and we will tap more into the power and reach of audio- and photo-journalism, among other potent storytelling tools.
As we grow and change, the need for accountability will become even greater, so we’ve re-thought our leadership structure. In order to keep people and organizations accountable inside and outside of our community, we need to hold ourselves accountable as well.
Good journalism still matters — perhaps now more than ever before. So I encourage you not only to engage seriously with our paper, but to join us in our mission. Write to us with your feedback. Submit your letters and thoughts. Apply to be a contributor. We want your voices and thoughts to supplement our own, molding the new image of what our organization can be.
We will not compromise on our responsibility to people and their narratives. We will stand by our values of community responsibility, diversity, accountability, and transparency, as we continue to carry out our goal of serving the Princeton community better. I, as well, promise to be transparent, accountable, and accessible to everyone.
We have a lot of work ahead of us, and I am incredibly excited for the months to come. Please join us in our mission to revitalize and reshape the ‘Prince.’
Sarah Sakha, a Woodrow Wilson School major from Phoenix, Arizona, is the incoming Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Princetonian. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.