Corrections or additions?
This article was prepared for the April 7, 2004
issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Between the Lines
We have a surfeit of communiques this week. For your reading pleasure
we present two letters to the editor, and one unusual letter from an
editor about an editor.
It was great to see "Bryn Mawr Books" on the cover of U.S. 1 as the
"Best Bet" (U.S. 1, March 24). Annual book sales, even this
great-grandmother of them all, appreciate all the help they can get to
let people know they are still alive and kicking!
For its first 70 years, this sale was indeed run solely by Bryn Mawr
alumnae. (There are still some remarkable, spry alums who’ve been
involved for more than half a century.) However, for the last three
years, Wellesley alumnae have come to the aid of their Bryn Mawr
sisters to help the sale survive to what is now almost three-quarters
of a century! As the president of the Wellesley Club of Central NJ, I
am very aware of the hours and hours of help we provided this year.
After all, there were 100,000 books to unpack, dust off, evaluate and
price, and cans of sand to fill, in which to prop up signs indicating
the more than 60 categories into which they had been sorted. This went
on at Princeton Day School for eight days and nights before the sale
even opened. Speaking of "befores"…those tens of thousands of books
had to be accepted and sorted all year long in the sale’s warehouse.
Then came the sale itself for another five days.
So, despite the enthusiasm and lucid advice of your bibliophiles Lanny
Jones and Ed Tenner, and the alliterative beauty of Bryn
Mawr/Books/Bibliophile, the correct name for this endeavor is now the
Bryn Mawr-Wellesley Book Sale, an un-alliterative, lo-o-ong name,
unfortunately missing from an otherwise superb piece.
U.S. 1, thank you so much for selecting us as your Best Bet! You
helped make this year’s sale exceedingly successful. Now there will be
more young women from the area who will be able to receive financial
help to attend Bryn Mawr and Wellesley colleges – and more books
recycled back to local readers, as well as those up and down the East
We were very interested to see your March 24th cover story describing
Princeton Social Capital’s philanthropy consulting services. Our
family has been fortunate to know President Curt Bassett personally
for years, and have always been inspired by his unique skills and
ability to positively impact such a specialty field.
With increasingly scarce public sector funding, the company’s vision
of leveraging one of our country’s greatest historical strengths –
philanthropy – is especially timely.
As a nonprofit organization focused on implementing telemedicine and
distance learning solutions for the autism community, we’re heartened
to see the emergence of companies like Curt Bassett’s, which can help
philanthropists greatly impact innovative programs in the non-profit
sector. Knowing first-hand the strains pressing down on ‘special
needs’ families, we consciously minimize grass roots fundraising for
our initiatives, and recognize what a vital funding source
philanthropists can be.
There is a special philanthropic mindset in our U.S. 1 Corridor that
can positively change the world, and we nonprofits can also learn a
lot from Mr. Bassett’s experience to better appeal to our giving
philanthropy community. Thank you for highlighting this special view
of the nonprofit/philanthropy field.
Princeton Autism Technology
For the past eight and a half years, the arts and entertainment
section of this paper – Preview – has been edited by Nicole Plett. The
Preview section in this issue is the last one under Plett’s tenure,
and this is the time to take notice of an artistic endeavor that has
produced more than 400 carefully balanced sections, which included
scores of stories reported and written by the editor herself.
Eight and a half years may not be that many in some fields, but in the
arts it’s a long time. Most of us wouldn’t recognize the prime time
television schedule from 1995. Since then on Broadway hundreds of new
shows have opened. The only ones remaining from that year are "Beauty
and the Beast" and "Phantom of the Opera." Plett has kept her act
going all these years, as well, even though every week she has had to
strike the sets, rebuild the stage, and begin to learn new lines. No
coasting in our business, even after you get it all down pat. And it’s
a job made more difficult by the proliferation of new technologies
that promise faster delivery of more information. The question is no
longer simply, "Did you send those photographs from opening night?"
but also, "How did you send them, in what format, and at what
Plett’s own stories helped energize the section and the various
freelance writers whose efforts she coordinated over that time period.
Among those profiled by Plett in the pages of U.S. 1:
Emily Mann, Michael Graves, Bill T. Jones, Joyce Carol Oates, Janis
Ian, Christo, Elaine Showalter, Emmet Gowin, George Segal, Athol
Fugard, Anne Meara, Mikhail Baryshnikov, J. Seward Johnson Jr.,
Priscilla Herdman, Twyla Tharp, Paul Muldoon, Scott Berg, and Paul
Her specialty was the arts, but that didn’t stop her from addressing
other subjects. She turned an art exhibit featuring images from the
Sourland Mountains north of Princeton into a cover story on the threat
of surburban sprawl and the formation of the Sourlands Planning
Council. On the 50th anniversary of the nuclear attack on the
Japanese, she recounted the work of the Allied mission that studied
the devastation – it included her father, Jacob Bronowski, the British
philosopher of science and the creator of the 1973 BBC series, "The
Ascent of Man."
One of her most challenging moments as an editor was in the fall of
2002, when our annual fall arts Preview section fell on September 11.
Plett led U.S. 1’s effort to commemorate that day. The cover headline
read "From the Ashes: Making Art and Making Sense of September 11."
The section delivered on the promise.
In the journalistic version of the "old soldiers never die" adage,
editors who step down often go back to what they did before they got
caught up in the deadline grind. Most often that’s writing.
In the case of Plett, she came to U.S. 1 after a distinguished career
in academic writing and dance criticism. Before she took over
Preview’s reins, she had served as a senior research assistant for the
Program in the Study of Women and Gender at Princeton University. With
a master’s degree in art history from the University of New Mexico,
Plett had been a dance and visual arts critic, writing for the New
Mexican, Santa Fe’s daily newspaper, the New York Times, the
Albuquerque Journal, and Dance Magazine. Among the resumes of U.S. 1
writers, editors, and freelance contributors, hers was one of the more
erudite: One of her credits: An article on gender issues in the ballet
"Coppelia" – titled "Uncanny Women and Anxious Masters: Reading
Coppelia Against Freud."
Like any savvy journalist, Plett is keeping her career options open.
But she does say that she "will continue to be active in arts
coverage in our area." We applaud her eight-year run at U.S. 1 and
look forward to her next act.
– Richard K. Rein
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