Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 25, No. 9. 1962.
Sir,—The Prime Minister (Mr Holyoake) must have had a premonition when he refused an interview to your reporter (Salient, June 18).
Certainly the treatment of Mr Nash's interview was abominably bad journalism. If Salient reporters can do no better than this, they must expect to be refused inter-views with busy men.
Personal opinion has no place in an unsigned newspaper article. If such an exceeding quantity of comment was considered essential to the article, the editor should have insisted on a "by-line" naming the reporter.
However, any journalism worthy of the name recognises that facts weigh higher than opinions and far higher than unattributed opinions.
If your reporter found Mr Nash's replies inadequate to his so carefully prepared list of graduated questions, his proper course was to list both questions and answers, leaving your readers to form their own opinions.
Good reporting provides the facts on which a sound judgment can be based, and leaves the reader to do the rest. Only the crudest newspaper writing attempts to provide ready-digested "instant opinion."
The Nash interview leaves me wondering whether the basic fault did not lie with the interviewer, rather than the interviewed. I wonder from its proverty whether your man failed to frame questions adequate to obtain an intelligent answer. His article transgresed the simplest and most basic rules of everyday journalism, and should certainly never have appeared in a paper written for a student community which has, presumably, a modicum of intelligence to merit his respect.—Yours, etc.,
J. C. Burgess.
The article was, in fact, signed when it left our hands. Often, the by-line goes astray somewhere in the printing process—it is usually the by-line slug that is removed if an article is too tight and won't fit the page.
The reporter was sent to interview Mr Nash, to report and comment on the person: we were not after a statement,—Editor.