The Spike or Victoria College Review 1946
To begin with it may be as well to recount a little past history. 'Salient' was published first in 1938, a climax to accumulated dissatisfaction with 'Smad' its predecessor. Popular feeling at the time was that the College newspaper should be a live organ of student opinion, not a half moribund record of club and sporting activities.
So 'Salient' was born. A deliberate policy was pursued of encouraging students to express their views on national and international affairs. Spain, public health, the elections, Munich, and Von Luckner were but a few of the topics that made front page headlines. Controversy was fostered. Guest editors added variety to the content of the paper. I recollect one occasion when a particular group which held strong views on 'Salient's' policy was invited and actually did produce one issue as it wished.
By this policy it was hoped that students would become more conscious of community and world problems and more fitted to take a positive part in their solution. There was a great need in 1938 to lift students out of their academic seclusion and to awaken them to the dangers of appeasement and the rising tide of fascism. The need is as great to-day as it was then. The first thing that interested me was—had 'Salient' retreated to the cloisters as 'Smad' did, or would I find comment and argument on the many aspects of peace and reconstruction?
Little of either was to be found. Of the six editorial, four dealt with college affairs, one was on world affairs and the other was lifted from another publication. This was rather disappointing, although one editorial 'University Crisis' put a lamentable situation very aptly.
The balance of front page articles was more even. The interviews could have been more like interviews not simply dull official reports. The art of reportage is not an easy one, and those responsible could well take a leaf or two out of the 'Listener's' book. In later issues, the use of blocks on the front page considerably improved the initial appearance of the paper. Nothing will discourage a reader more than a mass of type broken only by an occasional sub-head.
The literary page was a commendable effort. I know how difficult it is to fill this page consistently and full credit is due to the literary staff. Film, stage and book reviews were of a high standard and many of them displayed keen critical ability. Even music was not forgotten and comment appeared at regular intervals—an innovation for 'Salient,' Of the verse 'Odyssey of Being' and 'Cairo Mosque' appealed most, both for content and expression.
College activities were fully reported, and the production of two extras covered the Students Association elections and an Executive crisis, the only two important events of the year. That much maligned pasttime of tramping received more space than any other sport, but I attributed this to the probability that 'Salient' staff as is customary, belonged to the peculiar species who revel in the 'sack' and 'Five Mile.'
There was not a great deal in lighter mood but this is a common failing of past 'Salients' as well, although one year a very successful personal column by an inveterate gossip provided welcome relief. Our College, humorists confine themselves to 'Cappicade' (it would seem with rather dire but not unprecedented results in certain quarters).
Looking back over the issues for the year I am forced to the conclusion that 'Salient' is becoming parochial again, concerned too much with the minutiae of university life. Surely the urgent problems of rehabilitation, peace and reconstruction are important enough to be discussed in a university newspaper. Mere reports of debates are not enough. It would be tragic if this apathetic tendency were to continue, for debates are not enough. It would be tragic if this apathetic tendency were to continue, for students have a part to play in the present and future leadership of the community. Let there be more articles of the calibre of "The Role of the Scientist." Despite this adverse note, it is fortunate that the Students' Association has had a group of obvious enthusiasts to produce 'Salient 1946' and a printer who does a good job of work.
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"Upon That Mountain..."