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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 26, No. 9. 1963.

Letter to the Editor..

Letter to the Editor...


Dear Sir,—Your writer D.W, either misunderstands or misrepresents current trends in New Zealand newspapers, and the influence of advertising. English trends are only partly relevant to New Zealand, which has no national dailies, much lower population density, less frequent communication services, and a business community of smaller, more local firms.

Daily newspapers are admittedly decreasing in number, but very slowly. This does not, however, necessarily result from fewer owners—the Westport News, bought by the Nelson Mail, would otherwise have ceased; the New Plymouth papers recently voluntarily combined. Likewise, to suggest the smaller papers are without the NZPA news service and are thus handicapped is incorrect. All daily papers, except the Thames Star, which prints local news by choice, receive the NZPA-Reuter service, whose content of overseas and national news has long been regarded as the province of the dailies.

The "financially weak" small papers actually "have a hidden financial strength. All the smaller papers maintain local printing plants, and most of the non-dailies are produced on jobbing machines. The part-time work the newspaper provides permits the purchase of a press capable of other large local work, and the two sides thus form a sound economic unit. Television and radio publicise brand names with short commercials. The recent New York strike proved that newspaper news and advertising cannot be supplanted.

The importance of advertising revenue is not the new (and threatening?) development your writer seems to think. The New Zealand Government from 1840 was for several decades the colony's largest advertiser—more than one paper tempered its policy when threatened with a withdrawal of advertising. The power actually wielded by advertisers has now in fact decreased with larger companies and advertising agencies, which isolate the actual advertiser. Only with the smallest country newspapers does the advertiser wield significant influence.

Nor is the range of papers "unlikely to increase." The newspaper field is at present being redefined. The growing dailies now cover overseas, national and important local news, abandoning to the proliferating local newspapers of the suburbs and country centres (financed entirely from advertising revenue) the trivia of the local scene.

Advertising revenue is not a threat to New Zealand's newspapers. It may aid Salient's future.

The motion for a compulsory Salient subscription was, not surprisingly, defeated. There was no previous publicity. Further, it somewhat illogically made the Students Association a gift of £600 (the previous Salient grant) while asking students for £1000.

If it is desired to distribute Salient free, the example of "local" newspapers is open. £350 from sales is only £25 per issue—with a circulation raised to 3000 and including commission paid. £36/10/- more advertising would make this possible. Mr. Preston, in the Annual Report, admits: "I am sure we could get far more advertising."

The remedy is with Salient, not with students.

—I am, etc.,

H. B. Rennie.

Christian Objects

Sir,—Most of the uninspired article on Religious Education which appeared in your issue of June 18 showed a reasonable attempt to be impartial. But the author's true feelings became apparent in studying his quote from Mr. Adam Gowan Whyte's book.

Any comparison of religious education in New Zealand and Nazi indoctrination is unjustifiable. The Christian Church was the only institution in Germany to offer Hitler any spirited opposition during the third Reich. Several church leaders gave their lives in the struggle against Nazism.

The suggestion that "one set of principles is inculcated to the exclusion of all others" in one hour a week is ridiculous. As for "daily acts of ritual" which Mr. Whyte claims foster "the process of bringing unique personalities to a standard pattern," I know of no State primary school in New Zealand which has daily religious observances.

Anyway, a close study of the Gospels would reveal that Christ's disciples, far from conforming to a standard pattern, included men of widely different and unique personalities.

Whoever the writer of the article. I consider the quote from Mr. Whyte as completely unsubstantiated and therefore quite pointless in considering the topic of religious education in New Zealand.

—I am, etc.,

D. A. Holm.

Arts Society Replies

Sir,—'W.B.' in his criticism of the Contemporary Arts concert has completely ignored the aims of the group. We are interested in a wide range of artistic activities esspecially those which other clubs do not attempt. Also we present on the some programme experienced people from down-town along with talented but inexperienced students. Liaison between the various university groups and the town is an aim of ours achieved to a large extent.

The last concert was badly staged: all our concerts are!

It has been a constant problem to achieve a unified programme. For instance many of the musicians play every night in town and can only appear at a specified time. Also the type of screen installed in the theatre makes it almost impossible to integrate movies with other acts. With many rehearsals we could perhaps achieve a slick and stylised performance. However we prefer a workshop atmosphere. This is why there was a half hour coffee break in the middle instead of at the end of the concert, to try and break down to some extent the audience participants dichotomy.

I wish to make only two comments on "W.B"'s, criticism of the individual items. Firstly his criticism would have been easier to take seriously if there had not been glaring factual errors such as confusing the sexes of various participants. Secondly it seems Just as pointless to criticise inexperienced artists on the grounds of a lack of finesse in their techniques as it is to rubbish an immature critic for a lack of judgement.

I am, etc.. D. A. Flude. Contemporary Arts Group Committee.