IN HIS STATEMENT on the sale of The Washington Star to Time Inc., Joe L. Allbritton noted that four years ago, when he bought The Star, the "stakes were high: the survival of a second daily newspaper, a second voice, in the nation's capital." Those same stakes, he went on to say, had much to do with the sale announced yesterday. Mr. Allbritton took justifiable pride in what he and his associates have done in four years. "Together," he said, "we have turned The Star around." But he had respond to Time Inc.'s offer, he said, out of a growing conviction that "if two papers are to survive in Washington . . . both must be backed by resources beyond the reach of a single investor." That being so, we think the word of Time Inc.'s involvement in the fortunes of The Washington Star is good for our business as well as for this community.

We entirely share Mr. Allbritton's sense of the importance of the second voice - perhaps we should call it the Other Voice - in this town. A newspaper, unlike a football team or a racehorse, does not absolutely have to have opposition. But neither is it quite the same as, say, a symphony orchestra, an amusement park or even a private business, which can exist without direct competition (subject, of course, to the restraints of the antitrust laws). While newspapers can exist, and flourish, unopposed, it is not the most healthy condition. The need for competition in the nation's capital is all the greater, not just for its bracing effect on performance, but also for the contribution to public discourse that comes from the clash of different points of view.

Time Inc.'s long and illustrious record in the magazine field speaks for itself. We welcome a distinguished news organization to this city - and to news papering. And we are especially pleased that Joe Allbritton, who has made friends in this town, will continue his association with The Star as its publisher. By his imagination, energy and resoures The Star, as he rightly says, "has been saved, not just for its employees, but for the citizens of Washington." We wish the O.V. well.