October 20, 2004: From the Editor
Holding a press pass to the Republican national convention in New York, Mark Bernstein ’83 wandered into Bloggers’ Corner in Madison Square Garden, where he met Tom Bevan ’91, co-author of the conservative-leaning Web log RealClear Politics. Later, Mark spoke with one of Bevan’s colleagues on the left, Tom Burka ’82, author of Opinions You Should Have. His story on Princeton political bloggers is in this issue.
Bevan and Burka are Princetonians, political junkies, and now — depending on your definition — journalists. Blogging — posting online Web diaries, or Web logs — is a growing hobby among Princetonians, and not just those interested in politics. Graduate students, particularly sociology students, seem to be especially devoted. Craig Barton Upright GS, whose site notes that he is fond of “good chocolate, Belgian beer, baseball, and social justice,” writes on his research (on the organic food industry), baseball, and politics. Eric Switzer, another grad student, has written about his work on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and posts terrific photographs, including one called “Ellipsoid Packing in Frist.”
Eszter Hargittai *03 started blogging in May 2002, when she was working on her dissertation in sociology. She writes about her research, politics, and social and cultural trends, as well as other topics, on www.esztersblog.com. She also participates in a group blog, Crooked Timber, which is read by thousands of people each day.
“Once you see that dozens and eventually hundreds of readers are stopping by daily to see what you have to say and engage you in conversations, it inspires more writing. It allows me to discuss issues with a larger group of people than would be possible in my immediate daily surroundings,” she says. “Blogging has helped me to think some things through more carefully than I would otherwise, because to put things in writing to a global audience is different from saying something in passing to someone in the corridor.” Her hobby has helped her see the spectrum of viewpoints on many topics, she adds.
Hargittai, an assistant professor at Northwestern University, is working on an academic article about political blogs. No findings yet, however.
For some readers, the face of PAW has been the face of one person: Lolly O’Brien, who came to the magazine more than 17 years ago. Sadly, her tenure ends with this issue.
While editors-in-chief came and went, Lolly stayed: as advertising director, class notes editor, managing editor, Web editor, and acting editor; always enlivening the office with her fierce sense of humor and enthusiasm. The institutional wisdom she built over almost two decades cannot easily be replaced.
Lolly wished to thank those Princetonians who have helped her over the years, by faithfully meeting their Class Notes deadlines, explaining the ways of Princeton, commiserating upon mistakes, and rejoicing in triumphs. We thank her for the same, and more.