Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 1, No. 8 May 5, 1938
Now We Are Seven
Now We Are Seven
"Salient" has now completed seven issues. This is the eighth and last issue of the term. It is time for stocktaking.
The outlook is distinctly bright. There are approximately 900 students at V.U.C. of whom more than 600 subscribe to the paper. This is good, but not good enough. Over 150 persons outside 'Variety take the paper, and letters are still trickling in for all back numbers, and asking to be placed on the list of subscribers.
The paper has been placed on the magazine counter of two well known bookshops, but the sales have not been numerous.
A very pleasing feature has been the steadily increasing number of contributions received. Too few students realize, however, that they have in "Salient" an excellent means of trying out some of their ideas in a little free-lance journalism. During the second term we intend to feature on the front page articles written from varying points of view by students on controversial topics such as: "Communism," "Pacifism," "The Lecture System." The staff doesn't want to write them, so why not get busy during the vacation? There is no need to confine yourself to the suggestions given. Try others of your own.
Generally speaking the standard of contributions in verse has not been as high as that of the prose contributions. The casualty list of those that have fallen by the wayside has been considerable. This is no reason to cease trying, for the perfect craftsman cannot be expected to appear overnight.
The question of rejection of contributions lead to a dissertation on the subject of impartiality. Upon what grounds are contributions accepted or rejected? The question is really unnecessary, as the grounds were stated in the first few issues. There is no real reason for raising the matter now, apart from the fact that three persons (and only three) have raised points connected with the question. By at the greater part of Students of V.U.C. seem well satisfied with the paper. Contributions are accepted or rejected purely on the basis of literary merit, and preference is given to short letters.
However, one student complained that he has "read a lot in "Salient' about the evils of capitalism, and not enough about its good points." The objection may be perfectly true; but we would suggest to any student who feels that way, that the remedy lies in his own hands. He can either take Economics under Professor Murphy or write to "Salient." Should he choose the latter course, it is only fair to warn him of the difficulties usually encountered in making a silk purse out of a sow's ear. That is possibly what has deterred the staff from writing such articles.
Another criticism, again from a not very large group, this time expressed in the editorial columns of another University journal, was the lack of impartiality in the Editorials, with special reference to the Spanish number. We are glad to state that in the instance complained of, the charge is true.
The question needs clarification. Impartiality as I see it, and as others see it, and as others see it, may be very different things. Impartiality seems to be the "summum bonum" of journalism, just as academic isolation from the struggles of the world was the hall mark of a good student. Both these points of view are the offspring of the idea of "learning for the sake of learning."
How futile they are in the world today! Of what use is learning unless it be to make the world a better place for those that come after us? The word impartiality is similarly suspect.
The idea lingers that it is the function of the true editor to produce for discussion, a painless substitute for the real issues of the day, colorless, odorless, guaranteed not to irritate the tenderest skin.
The answer to that is unequivocal. You will find no such thing in these columns. There is no cheap solution of the problem of social reconstruction. It is well nigh impossible for any paper to adopt a truly impartial attitude towards the solutions proposed. Shakespeare told us that "Men's judgments are a parcel of their outward fortunes." That is as true in our day as it was in his.
Let us say therefore that we make no claim to take an impartial view of the social struggle before us. The question has been well put by Mr. King Gordon, Professor of Christian Ethics at the United Theological College Montreal. "The political task of our generation is that of preventing the rise of the totalitarian state in the remaining democratic countries of the world and of saving civilization from the devastation of war brought on by the desperate imperialist excursions of the fascist states. In addition, the political task of our generation is the furthering of a state organized to provide economic security and individual liberty."
There seems little to add to that statement to explain why "Salient" is not, and does not wish to be, an "impartial" journal, or in other words a political Micawber hoping that better times will somehow turn up.