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February 20, 2006 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

Why You Should Read Features

Now a feature is “a distinctive or characteristic part of a thing”, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Now since those Englishmen invented this language we can probably trust their definition. What is this thing (mandatory, according to this definition) you are holding in your hands, caressing, teasing, taunting, leading it on with every flick of the page? It is Salient, one of the best student magazines in the country. In fact for the last three years it was voted best student magazine in New Zealand, except for last year, when it was voted runner-up winner. (That is, if the first place is destroyed by lightning or shut down due to white powder being mailed to them, possibly by us, then we would take over the ceremonial duties). So you are holding some prestigious piece of ass in your hands. If we were a whore, you’d better be earning big money to afford an hour. You should, right now, bow down and prostrate yourself in front of it. Go on. Or at the very least, leave it in the toilet to read. Because reading Salient is like taking a long shit- you’ll never know when to end.

So this thing, as we have clearly determined, is Salient. So, therefore, what is the thing that is a distinctive or characteristic part of Salient? Letter pages? No. Top 5? No. James Robinson? No. It is the feature aarticle. In fact the Oxford English Dictionary even dared to suggest a feature is also “a distinctive or regular article in a newspaper or magazine”. This dictionary has balls, I say. So the characteristic part of Salient is, indeed, the feature article.

What can you can expect to see in the feature article? Rampant nudity? Articles about war? Celebrity gossip? No we are not FHM or the Sunday Star-Times. We will be trying to approach issues from a slightly skewed perspective to what you’d find in the mainstream media. This isn’t some facile liberal-angst, left-wing, yawn-wank. Last year, we covered issues such as calling for more openness regarding suicide, questioning the point of recycling, the failure of Kiwi FM and looking at what the Union (formerly the Student Union) is doing with your money. We also did profiles of a wide variety of people. Last year African writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi, classical musicians The Kronos Quartet, Uma Thurman’s Kill Bill stuntwoman Zoe Bell, Wellington musician Luka Buda from the Phoenix Foundation and lots of politicians (well there was a pretty big election) were but a few of the people that stopped by to talk to Salient. This year, we can promise some big names- we just can’t tell you who, because we wouldn’t want to jinx it. But they’ll be cool. And hip. And fly.

The feature articles are the lifeblood of Salient. Without them, it’d be like the Jews without Israel, no wait, the Palestinians without Israel… er… who really knows? We’re probably going to piss people off. We’re probably going to make you want to write angry letters about how shit this magazine is, letters that you won’t write because you’re too lazy. We’re probably going to present some things in a way you’ve never really thought about before, and probably wouldn’t have if you only focus in on mainstream media. Least of all, we have no responsibility towards anyone except you the student (and a little thing called the law, but that’s overrated. Defamation schmefamation). A good feature article in Salient is meant to provoke thought, angst, debate, anger and frustration- all the things student media is meant to do.

Now it’s time to introduce the remarkable bunch of people who’ll be writing features. First of all, there’s James Robinson himself. The man has won ASPAs, been nominated for Qantas Media Awards, the editor himself. He is a legend around student media. Plus, he’s also quit smoking, so there’ll be no more reviews on him trying to quit smoking. Secondly, there’s Nick Holm. The man has won ASPAs, practically wrote a student magazine himself last year, and is new to the Salient team. He is a legend around student media. Finally there’s me, Brannavan Gnanalingam. I’ve never won an ASPA, nor done much really. Except “review” some films. But here I am, and will be working hard to burst those pustulant sores of societies. There will also be volunteer writers who will be tackling many of the big issues around. Plus Nicola Kean, the thinking man’s pin-up, adding to her burgeoning power around Salient by contributing features, er, I mean contributing to features. So all in all, a capable and hardy team.

So the dictionary was right. The feature article is the distinctive or characteristic part of the magazine. But you don’t need me to tell you that.

Features: you guys pay for us, so you might as well read us.


About the Author ()

Brannavan Gnanalingam has come a long way from being born in the teeming metropolis of Colombo, Sri Lanka. He may be known as feature writer for Salient, but is also the only man in history to have simultaneously donated both his kidneys. He is also an amateur rapper going under the moniker Brantank and hopes to win a Grammy.

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