Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 5. 1965.
Public Relations are a dangerous topic for discussion. The modern fashion of image-making has created a situation of sensitivity where criticism can be blown up and used to ends exactly opposite.
Students in particular have become sensitive about their image. Our press image, they complain, is unjust, inaccurate, the product of bias instead of judgement. The pressure has been high for Wellington papers to grant a column to student columnists. Only in this way, our public relations people argue, can our image be corrected.
Thus to turn and attack the one Wellington student columnist is to create the danger that students will be laid open to just the criticism that such columnists are supposed to avoid.
The time has, however, come when this must be done. Students can no longer conceal that the storybook tale produced once a week by one K. L. B. for the Evening Post is quite unrepresentative of student thought.
K.L.B.'s column is undistinguished in style and uninteresting in content. If in its early form its happy tales of "Jack Student" were uniformly dull, at least it was roughly representative of one outside view of student life. Elderly ladies and apprehensive mothers may have slept better for its soothing news.
Now, however, the column has become a fuzzy and poorly-informed discussion of some student issues. In one recent example, the columnist takes a swipe at Bantu scholarships and Student Action. He illogically objects to Bantu scholarships because there are British subjects in Fiji who could use the money, and naively suggests that student grievances could be solved by inviting M.P.s up for an informal chat.
K.L.B., students will be interested to learn, is a middle-aged student with a wife and family. We would have thought this viewpoint already got more than its fair share of space in local letter columns.
It is little use having a public image created which is a sham, a facade which critical analysis will pierce. Students are not afraid of any true representation of themselves. All we ask is that it be well-written and well thought out, and this K.L.B.'s column is not —H.B.R.