Since its founding 100 years ago, the Princeton Alumni Weekly has distinguished itself as one of the best alumni magazines in the country. In contrast to other alumni publications, which often act as publicity or fund-raising tools for their universities, the PAW has established its reputation through its objective approach and editorial independence from the University.
However, the University's announcement that the Alumni Council will assume administrative responsibility for the publication raises doubts as to whether that independence can continue. Though it is unclear exactly what role the University will play, this type of relationship can lead to an editorial bias, or at least an appearance of one.
The PAW should not hesitate to take a critical stances toward University policies, decisions or trends. Some of the PAW's best editions have covered controversial issues such as the role of athletes and race relations at the University. Even more provocative than the articles are the highly incendiary letters the PAW often prints. But this administrative shift places the PAW's journalistic integrity on a slippery slope.
The PAW has had a tumultuous year, with the departure of two editors-in-chief. Nonetheless, it is necessary that the University recognize the benefit of allowing the publication to maintain complete editorial independence.