Editorial | Issue 01

Editorial | Issue 01

Welcome to Critic

Just as an exhilarating combination of caffeine, excitement and sleep deprivation kicked in with our first print deadline looming last Wednesday evening, a truly sad moment for New Zealand student media was broken to those who were listening.

Massive, the combined magazine of a whole shitload of Massey-based students’ associations, announced that it would stop being published in print format, existing only in a diminished role online. This makes Massey University the first university post-VSM to no longer have a printed student magazine.

We’ll get to the VSM issue shortly. First, however, it’s important to emphasise how important it is that student magazines are found in a physical print form. The Internet is absolutely teeming with great reading material - maybe even too much, if you want to be cynical. Lost in a flood of other distractions and with no physical presence to remind students of its existence, it’s hard to see how Massive will maintain a perception of relevance in the years to come. Furthermore, control of the publication is being assumed by a section of the University that is alleged to have intervened editorially in the past.

Yet the publication is exceptionally important. Last year, Massive played a vital role in uncovering an extreme corruption case in one of the students’ associations they cover – EXMSS. I encourage you to look back at the saga of President JV Chapman for a great example of competent and relevant reporting by student media.

This is very much a VSM issue. The only reason you’re holding Critic in your hands right now is basically because we’re lucky. We’re lucky that OUSA was able to negotiate a deal with the University three years ago and that the University acknowledged the importance of protecting student voices.

Honestly, I find it remarkable that we’re still debating VSM. I remember protesting against ol’ John Key about three years ago when he visited Dunedin to open the Robertson Library. A significant issue at the time, it was again in the context of an election year.

In fact, the best argument for VSM, I feel, is questioning why you would whack compulsory fees upon the only members of our society who have to borrow money to live. But therein lies an obvious rub – VSM threatens the existence of a voice that can stick up for students if they decide to shun their apathy and fight to live without these monstrous debts. Massive is a symbolic loss – a warning sign for students who think politics don’t matter.

On a slightly different tack, as OPSA’s Mark Baxter pointed out in a particularly heated discussion on the Critic Facebook page, students pay compulsory fees to fund all of the University’s rubbish marketing publications, not to mention their shiny new thugby jerseys (page 12). Paying a minimal amount (less than $5 per student per year, in Critic’s case) to provide an editorially independent voice for students looks very reasonable from that angle.

Just as Massive once did, Critic holds a vital place in the culture and representation of Dunedin’s student population, and we would love to engage with you. Like us on Facebook, tweet at the contributors, ask to write some pieces and send us a letter every now and then.

Finally, be sure to tune into our show on Radio One. Airing from 10am – 12pm every Monday morning, the Critic Morning Spectrum, hosted by the wonderful Daniel Blackball, will bring you two hours of supplementary interviews and content, not to mention a great playlist.

Further discussion another time - it’s 6:00am on Friday morning and we need to send the magazine to print.

Welcome to Critic.

Zane Pocock
Critic Editor
This article first appeared in Issue 1, 2014.
Posted 6:57pm Sunday 23rd February 2014 by Zane Pocock.