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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 34, Number 10. 1971


Last Thursday the Publications Board decided to publish Salient on a fortnightly basis for the rest of the year. The decision came from a vote of 4 to 2 (with 2 abstentions), after a critical discussion of Salient's role as a university paper and the quality of the issues so far. It is understood that another Publications Board meeting has been called to reverse this decision.

The main reasons given by the proponents of the change; Argot Editor, John Hales; Publications Officer, Dave Smith and Treasurers, Len Watson and Trevor Webb; were that it would mean a substantial saving to the Association and would give a greater selection of copy resulting in a higher quality publication.

Replying to these criticisms, the editor (Roger Cruickshank) said that it was not true that there would be a saving to the Association by such a move. He said that although some 53 percent of Publications Board finance came from student levies, a reduction in the number of issues would result in a corresponding reduction in advertising and other revenues. This would be balanced by increased printing costs from the publication of a (larger) fortnightly issue.

As far as the quality of copy was concerned, he said that while not totally satisfied with the copy so far, the selection of copy was a matter of editorial discretion and ultimately any dissatisfaction in the quality of copy could only be rectified by a change of editor, not a change in the frequency of publication.

Mr Hale's objection that the editorial staff were more engaged in technical duties (proof reading etc) than selection of copy was conceded by the editor because, he said, the nature of the typesetting made it imperative that each completed tape be immediately proof read and sent to the typesetters. During the first term the I.B.M. input operator employed by the Association worked irregular hours and it was impossible to arrange for an adequate proof reading staff. The main burden of purely technical work fell on the shoulders of editorial staff, so that time could not be spent on more extensive arrangement and selection of copy. This term, however, the input operator has been hired on a regular basis and it will be possible to co-ordinate proof reading and other technical work.

However, any disagreement with editorial policy, he reiterated, could only be overcome by an editorial change.

Reprinted below are two letters which illustrate this disagreement with editorial policy.