Salient: An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 12, No. 2, March 16th, 1949.
Student Opinion or Red Blanket
Student Opinion or Red Blanket
For the second year in succession Salient has made its debut looking—in places—like pieces from the People's Voice. Cries of "Reds under the bed" may be justified by Salient's regular imprudences and bad journalism. It is not wrong to write about Russians, Tito, W.F.D.Y. or anything else even remotely suggestive of Communism but the emphasis is often misleading. If Salient believes in honesty rather than pleasing readers, it should not wonder at cries of Woe! Woe!
Good journalism is sometimes Salient's God. Every now and then, the mistakes and prejudices of other newspapers are paraded smugly in Salient's columns. There are words about our capitalist press. Tory journalism and other catch cries. Yet Salient, the critic, commits the same crime more blatantly and stupidly than any of those newspapers it loves to pillory. It is not that articles are refused or censored, but material should he printed that does not give the impression that this university has one major interest: Socialist ideas.
Now, before I call down the Edltur's wrath, let me make It clear that in the first issue, much of the material is harmless and good Journalism, but the sum of the contents is enough to give the idea that Sallint is a Red rag.
The dissatisfaction arises mainly because Salient's peculiar politics dictate its journalism. Salient thereby loses its effectiveness as an organ of student opinion—unless it be of a small number of students.
In the first issue, for example, the article "Youth Unite for Lasting Peace" is news of an organization which is still doubtful in many minds much Jess Fascist than Salient would have people think. An article on a Russian geneticist, and yet another on Indonesia, and a comment on a Russian film, are prominent, and although there can be no objections to at least two of these three, it is the over-all impression that is important.
The other main feature of the issue (excluding the necessary to Mr. Sullivan is a Curious article about Congress containing a lot of curiouser comment in the usual Salient style. It looks Red to some new students, and even to the more woolly minded of the old. The article on the library is excellent.
Apathy no Answer
Can Salient plead apathy? Any attempt to plead apathy generally I cannot allow. It is discouraging and a hanpicap but apathy does not choose the fillers and the reprints, nor does it make the editorial comments. The evils are not wholly to be found in apathy, and the staff of Salient knows it.
A good start has been made with an article on the library, and others on such topics as bad lighting, inadequate facilities in various departments, examination standards, etc. Continuous attention to these problems may result in some activity. Some decent book reviews not too long and not too one-sided, would be welcomed. More comment on national affairs of a less destructive tone would be well complemented with articles about international affairs which do not consist of the vices of the Marshall Plan. WFDY. China. Greece and Indonesia.
Religious articles are very rare—probably the fault of College religious organisations. The only sort appearing in Salient are similar, with a few exceptions, to those of last year when, in the last issue, some paper waster called Swen, made cynical comments which would hardly be accepted by John A. Lee's fortnightly. It should not hurt students' feelings to discuss (not abuse) religion. The word "God" is almost as rare as the word "Fascist" is common in Salient.
Surely it would do the members of the Salient Staff no harm to stuff their flags in their pockets—nobody would blame them if they waved them now and then—and concentrate on publishing a good student newspaper. It requires a sense of proportion, some fair thinking, and a more careful use of fillers and rewrites.
Salient staff may think that they are sound, but there are those who disagree. Some may even be gullible enough to believe them all. We could do with less of the bias and childishness we had in that lamented issue after last year's Madhouse meeting.
This College requires an organ of student opinion that will be a force in student affairs. Will it ever get it? The answer is for Salient staff, and you, the readers.