Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 8. 1969.
NZSPA Crisis: Otago withdraws
NZSPA Crisis: Otago withdraws
The Otago University Students' Association has withdrawn from the New Zealand Student Press Association (NZSPA).
It suggests "a simple editors' council at the Winter and Easier Council meetings of NZUSA" as an alternative.
A statement by the Publications Officer, Mr. Richard Shorter, said that in the opinion of the Otago Executive NZSPA was "not worthwhile" in its present form, in that its structure was "outdated" and it was not "coping with the needs of editors".
"We felt that the main value of NZSPA was that the editors of the various student newspapers could meet together to discuss their various editorial problems", he said.
"It has been noticed that there had been very little use made of the NZSPA releases by student newspapers."
"There is very little need for them since the advent of student newspapers from other centres on the various campi (sic)," the statement concluded.
The president of the NZSPA, Mr. Anthony Jaques, said a meeting of the Resident Executive would be called to discuss the matter.
"The statement that NZSPA material is not used is false", he said.
"It may be that the material is not used to any great extent in Critic, but this does not hold for other newspapers."
Mr. Jaques said discussions between editors on their problems was "a value, but not the main values" of NZSPA.
He said that the major effect of having other papers around the campus was to make people more critical towards their own newspaper.
NZSPA was created in 1962 from a Press Council meeting of editors.
It became autonomous from NZUSA in 1967.
The major facet of the organisation is the production of news releases for student newspapers throughout the country.
Opinion between constituent editors indicated some re-organisation would be desirable.
Mr. Michael Meek, editor of Critic, at Otago University, said he was "fully in favour of some exchange system between editors".
He suggested editors should airmil copies as soon as they were published.
"'I don't use NZSPA copy unless I am really desperate", he said.
He indicated "quite frankly" that he was often in this position.
Mr. Mac Price, editor of Craccum said he was rather sceptical about the sort of organisation which would replace NZSPA.
"I'm pretty satisfied with the copy that's coming through", he said.
Mr. Price said the copy dated easily, but added that problem was something any fortnightly publication was up against.
"If the present structure collapses the suggested alternative would not provide the service", he said.
The editor of Canta, Mr. Graeme Culliford, said it was "little more than a gesture".
The organisation did come in for some criticism at Massey University.
The editor of Chaff, Mr. Arthur Ranford said "the only time NZSPA is really valuable is at Council".
"But the other alternative would work just as well as the more formal system as we have at the moment."
The Secretary of the Publications Board at Massey, Mr. Hugh Patterson, said the practice of bringing out releases in Wellington meant a "restricted coverage".
"If there was something on in Christchurch for example, Chaff could arrange for it to be covered".
Mr. Patterson said Chaff too, only used NZSPA copy "when desperate".
Last year's editor of Salient, Mr. Bill Logan, said "it seems that NZSPA always gets into the hands of a group of disillusioned old men who have been by-passed by the main currents of student journalism".
"A conference of editors seems one way of getting the machinery of national co-operation out of the hands of impotent bureaucrats."
Last year's Publications Officer, Mr. Owen Gager, said he had not seen NZSPA do anything useful during his tenure of office, and he would be surprised to see it altering this pattern.
Last year's President of NZSPA. Mr. Barry Saunders, said the moves were "turning the cycle back to 1962".
He said if Otago wanted a better structure, it should have brought it up at Easier Council.
"The editor made vague talk outside the meetings but did not come up with any proposals to change the organisation at all."
He said the criticisms regarding the degree of use of the releases had "some validity".
"Chaff and Craccum use a little, Salient uses some and Critic uses a lot", Mr. Saunders said.
Mr. Peter Rosier, President of NZUSA, said that if it were a move to dissolve NZSPA he would be "most disappointed".
"It is a clear case of history repeating itself."
Mr. Rosier said, by the number of releases this year, NZSPA is doing a "manifestly good job".
"It costs newspapers relatively little for this service."
He said no matter how many motions were passed, editors never get around to sending copies on time.