Princeton Student Columnist Writes Column Questioning Value of Her Column Writing

A Princeton University student columnist recently wrote a column questioning whether her column writing had any real value at all — and concluding quite boldly that in the grand scheme of things it probably doesn’t.

Prior to that assertion, the well-written, nicely-cited treatise by Princeton freshman Sarah Sakha explores the larger place of opinion journalism in a media universe in which “print newspapers are leaving less space for opinion, cutting opinion pieces from publication and personnel.”

As Sakha starts off the op-ed, published earlier this month in The Daily Princetonian, “I’ve been facing an existential crisis. But this is no ordinary crisis about the purpose or value or meaning of life. … I have been grappling with the purpose or value — or perhaps lack thereof — of newspaper column writing. This pseudo-crisis was spurred by a tangential discussion that I had in my journalism class when the question of the use of opinion in journalism was posed.”

Bottom line, as she felt compelled by that discussion to ask herself: “Does what I write have any bearing?

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Well, opinion journalism certainly does — at least beyond the online carnival barkers and superficial TV talking head slugfests. As Sakha points out, in many ways impactful presentations of honest journalism — not objective, but honest — may be the only way to keep the interest of younger audiences tired of the traditional news report.

On a personal level, in her words, “I cannot say whether what I write here even matters because frankly, it doesn’t. But we’ve entered a new era in which plurality is valued over straight objectivity, and hopefully from a plurality in perspective and opinion can we foster more multilateral, diverse discussion.”

Note to Sakha: What you write matters, I promise. (Heartbeat accelerating.) Well, I personally think it does. (Awkward pause.) OK, I mean, I hope it might. (Existential crisis oncoming.) Is anyone out there?

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