Statement From WSN on Decision to Pull Pro-Nationalist Advertisement

Last week, conservative pundit Rich Lowry purchased a full-page advertisement to be printed on the back page of WSN’s Monday, Oct. 21 issue. The ad promoted his Thursday talk at the Silver Center, an event sponsored by the College Republicans and the NYU AEI Executive Council, as well as his most recent book. In prominent lettering across the top, the ad read “Nationalism is a good thing.”

On Sunday night during our weekly print production of the paper, I decided to pull the ad from the issue. The ad’s pro-nationalist message does not align with the values of our paper, and after much thought, it was my decision to cancel it. The word “nationalism,” as it exists in today’s political lexicon, connotes xenophobia and white supremacy, and printing it in large letters on the back of our paper would have marginalized people of color on our campus and our staff. I prioritized the sensibilities and trust of our audience over the ad revenue, and I stand by my decision.

Removing ads from the paper last minute is not a standard practice — in fact, it almost never happens. I made a judgment call while my colleagues on the business side of the paper were asleep, and we have put practices in place to ensure that an ad of this nature does not again get so far along in the process before being canceled.

WSN has the right to refuse advertisements at any time without explanation. The reason I am even writing this statement is that Lowry wrote an article in the National Review about the incident, incorrectly citing the decision to cut the ad as coming from our business advisor, Nanci Healy. Nanci, an employee of the Center for Student Life, helps WSN’s business side to create our annual budget. She is not involved in the sale or printing of ads — and she is entirely removed from any editorial decision-making, which is left to the undergrads who run the paper. WSN is editorially and financially independent of NYU, and we do not answer to university officials when it comes to either editorial or business content.

It was my decision to cancel the ad, and any concerns our readers have about that should be directed toward me. Reach me at [email protected].

— Sakshi Venkatraman, Editor-in-Chief