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Letter from the Editor: In trying times, a community to call home

Jon Ort / The Daily Princetonian

Editor’s Note: This piece was included in the print issue sent to all members of the Class of 2024.

We were preparing to print our March 9, 2020 issue when the news came. Just before midnight, Princeton announced that the coronavirus would require classes be held online for three weeks after spring break. Within minutes, the revelation had ricocheted across campus.


At The Daily Princetonian, we scrambled to get our bearings. After a few emergency calls with University spokespeople, we learned the decision had been revealed in error: Nassau Hall intended to release its plans the following morning, and the webpage had been prematurely published. But the news was out — and we had a paper to print.

A team of reporters and editors hunkered down to write the story, breaking every hour for U-Store snack runs. Later that morning, our paper ran under the headline, “U. inadvertently releases unfinalized plans.”

On that sleepless night, I saw what makes the ‘Prince’ so special. We aren’t just an independent publication or Princeton’s paper of record. We’re a community sustained through friendship, empathy, and dedication, both to our work and to one another. And at a time when nothing is normal, the ‘Prince’ has never been more vital.

In this issue, designed exclusively for the Class of 2024, we’re delighted to share some of our best work with you. Of the articles printed here, most were pitched, written, and published remotely, after the coronavirus forced us to return home. The ‘Prince’ has kept publishing daily, and we’ll continue full steam ahead this year.

The pandemic gives us a unique opportunity to chart our paper’s future. Over the coming year, we’ll develop and pursue a bold vision for the ‘Prince.’ How can we serve our communities at Princeton? What role should the ‘Prince’ play on and off campus? What stories do we tell, and why?

In reimagining the ‘Prince,’ we won’t forget the imperative of this moment. As protestors confront the anti-Black racism that pervades every aspect of American life, newsrooms across the country are reckoning with their own failure to represent the communities they serve. At the ‘Prince,’ we’ve resolved to hold these unflinching and honest conversations.


Bearing in mind our obligation and commitment to change, I invite you to join us. In September, all sections, including Copy, Design, Features, Multimedia, News, Opinion, Sports, and Prospect, will recruit new staff. Unlike many college publications, we take on as many people as possible, and no prior experience is ever required. Though most of our reporting and editing will occur online, our community carries on. We can’t wait to welcome you to our “newsZooms,” the informal conversations we hold almost every day.

Regardless of whether you join our staff, the ‘Prince’ is your paper, because Princeton is your community. We’re so thrilled you’re here. It’s our honor and privilege to report for you.

Jonathan Ort is editor-in-chief of The Daily Princetonian. He can be reached at and on Twitter at @ort_jon.

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