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Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 14. 1969.


page 2


In an adjacent article Roger Lawrence discusses the implications of a decision of the Publications Board to pay the Cappicade editor a formal fee of $100.

It was our intention to discuss in a broader sense, the demise of the Amateur Student when, as our front page illustrates, we were presented with a specific issue on which to centre our remarks.

Focus, the case in point, is an independent magazine financed by the NZUSA. It has been in this position since its inception in 1966. For two years it plodded the course, reflecting basic editorial indecision at every turn as to whether it was a house magazine or an "independent quality review." And, as a result, was rather grey in both capacities.

It has never been rowdy, never cantankerous, never blessed with the sort of irreverent spirit found in the "typical" student publication.

Under Hugh Rennie it made a decisive lunge away from the universities. Coverage of student affairs was reduced. Many of the features generally found in student publications (art, medicine, books) went out the door. Advertising support, assured to some degree by the distribution of 20,000 free copies around the universities would be more likely to accrue to a magazine which was successful in conventional terms. That means profit.

Success within these terms is synonymous with sophisticated results. That mean increased professionalism in every sense. It means that a "student participation" would be an anachronism. If this is what NZUSA wants then they should go ahead and adopt the sort of scheme advocated by Industrial Communicators.

And give them Salient as well. Why not? Professional journalists could probably edit it better than the present editor. But once that particular hand is shaked, the sudent body has made its last major policy decision on Focus it will ever make.

When an editor is appointed by students, from students, and is responsible to students, he is likely to reflect the attitudes of students. This is the present situation. But although principals of Industrial Communicators have strong university affiliation, they cannot be influenced in the same way if they try to remain consistent with their proposals.